Novel boar pheromone spurs sow reproduction

Research Review: Getting a greater percentage of sows bred and farrowing will improve profitability and sustainability of commercial pork production.

December 21, 2017

2 Min Read
Novel boar pheromone spurs sow reproduction

Researcher: John J. McGlone, Texas Tech University
While genetic improvements in litter size have been significant over the past decades, the farrowing rate remains suboptimum on commercial farms. Producers have few tools to increase breeding, conception and farrowing rates. A newly formulated pheromone called Boar Better that combines three molecules found in boar saliva (not sow saliva) may help.

The research team at Texas Tech University demonstrated that Boar Better causes weaned sows to express sexual behaviors with a single nasal spray post-weaning. Boar Better also caused a rise in serum LH in weaned sows.

In a recent study at Texas Tech University, three key measures were recorded during this product evaluation on two sow farms in southern Indiana (600 sows each). Treatments were applied to all sows weaned into an experimental unit on a given week. Treatments included a control on one week and Boar Better the following week. Three weeks of each treatment were administered for a total of six weeks of observations on each farm. Individual sow IDs were recorded along with parity and wean-to-estrus interval. All sows were confirmed pregnant by ultrasound at about 35 days post-AI. The key measures are summarized above. The administration of Boar Better applied to sows post-weaning caused increased signs of estrus, improved breeding rates, and increased conception and farrowing success rates and litter size. Using this technology may improve the reproductive output of sow units by two to four pigs per sow per year.


During the control week, sows were handled, heat-checked and bred as usual. During the treatment week, Boar Better spray was applied on days four through seven post-weaning to all sows within the group by spraying 4 mL (one-second spray from a hand-held sprayer) from about four inches from her snout, directed toward her nostrils before heat-checking with a boar. Sows bred after day seven were considered not bred as part of the study. Sows were removed from the study analyses if culled for non-reproductive reasons such as injury, health or sudden death.

Results of the study indicate that Boar Better increased the breeding rate 3.5%, conception rate 1.5%, conception success rate 4.6%, farrowing rate 4.6% and farrowing success rate 7.2% of weaned sows.

Pheromones are considered clean, green and ethical technology. They are natural products that can be quickly adopted when shown effective. Getting a greater percentage of sows bred and farrowing will improve profitability and sustainability of commercial pork production. 

Contact McGlone for more information.

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