Optimize on-farm porcine semen dose management

Inadequate management of semen doses on the farm can affect the reproductive results of your sows. Minitube, conscious of the importance of the quality of the dose before its application in the sow, has developed new equipment that ensures the correct management of semen doses on the farm: from arrival to use. 

The most critical aspects of semen dose management are:

1. Arrival
2. Storage 
3. Quality control

Minitube’s recommendations:

1. Arrival
Preserving the biosecurity of the farm and documenting the delivery of semen doses is vital, therefore it is important:
  • To have a designated delivery point for orders (office or an off-farm storage refrigerator)
  • To keep a record of arrival time and temperature control of the doses
  • To remove the doses from their outer packaging from the stud and to put them in a “sow farm only container” to enter the farm, before placing them in the refrigerator
2. Storage
The storage temperature of porcine sperm should be +17ºC (between +16-18ºC) under standard conditions, which can only be provided by a specialized semen storage unit (SSU). 

Semen storage units must:
  • Be installed in clean locations with uninterruptible power supply 
  • Be capable of cooling and heating
  • Have an external temperature indicator with an accuracy of ±1ºC
  • Have slatted shelves to allow for air circulation 
  • Have sufficient capacity for the amount of weekly needed doses

For maintenance:
  • Clean the interior monthly or whenever necessary (including shelving)
  • Allow annual inspection by a technician

Protecting semen doses and ensuring their fertility during conservation is the basis for reproductive success on the farm.  Minitube has developed the safest and most advanced semen storage units on the market. Equipped with heating and cooling elements, Minitube SSUs are used to efficiently preserve semen doses at a constant temperature. All Minitube units operate with a temperature range of +5°C to +40°C and an accuracy of ±1°C from the set-point.

Example temperature data acquired in Minitube SSU set to +17°C

Minitube offers several versions and different sizes of semen storage units to suit any application and production volume. Sophisticated heating and cooling technology guarantees the desired and constant internal temperature regardless of the ambient temperature.  

The controller of Minitube SSUs displays the temperature inside the unit at all times. However, it is recommended to record the minimum and maximum temperature inside the semen storage unit with an additional min/max thermometer, because the temperature may rise in the event of a power failure and the quality of the semen doses must be checked before use. 

For insemination, only take out as many semen doses as needed. Once removed from storage, doses should not be returned to the refrigerator.

Product tip for semen storage and transport: 
Air-conditioned boxes can be used for semen storage and transport as well. Using thermoelectric peltier element technology, Minitube air conditioned boxes provide precise heating and cooling to keep boar semen doses at the optimal temperature. Automatic switchover between heating and cooling adjusts to ambient conditions, while built-in fans maintain constant airflow to prevent temperature fluctuations. Choose from two versions: preset at +17°C or customizable temperature settings. Constructed with polyurethane full foam insulation, these boxes are lightweight (only 4.2 kg), durable and maintenance-free. They measure 390 x 485 x 295 mm and have a capacity of 85 tubes or bags.
3. Quality control
Quality control of the semen dose is essential to determine its potential fertility. Such control can be performed upon at the farm and prior to actual use. Sperm motility and concentration are the most important parameters for checking the quality of the semen dose.  When using a simple microscope, both parameters can only be determined subjectively and motility and concentration are roughly estimated. 

Minitube now offers the possibility to objectively assess the quality of the semen dose, making the latest technology available at farm level: the AndroScope, a compact and mobile computer assisted semen analysis system (CASA). The AndroScope CASA accurately analyzes and documents both motility and concentration in less than 2 minutes

It is crucial to check the sperm quality of the semen doses before use, to verify the quality. This will ensure maximum fertility of the insemination dose.  When checking the semen doses, please consider that the sperm cells are stored at +17°C to reduce their metabolism and save energy resources. Therefore, the sperm cells must be reactivated by warming them to +38°C for at least 20 minutes before the motility analysis, otherwise they will not show their full motility potential. The Minitube mobile warming unit is designed for this purpose. Please also refer to the AndroScope manual for correct sample preparation. 

Please inquire the minimum requirements for a semen dose from your semen supplier. Semen doses that don’t meet the minimum total motility should not be used.  Poor sperm quality can cause a significant decrease in pregnancy rates and litter size. Therefore, it is important to check the sperm quality before using the semen doses. 


Semen dose management from arrival to its use plays an important role in maintaining high fertility levels on the sow farm. Semen storage requires specialized equipment to maintain the quality and fertility of semen doses. Quality control of semen doses before use is crucial and now easy to perform on farm level with minimal effort using the AndroScope. 
Optimize on-farm porcine semen dose management