Warm Weather Breeding

Maintaining high conception rates during summer months 

With the excitement of summer comes rising temperatures and adjustments to be made for optimal success in your breeding program. Warm weather can present added challenges, so it is critical to prepare the barn environment, employees, and the animals to maintain high conception rates.  

Semen Handling

Transporting semen to the breeding facility is the first of many crucial pieces to achieve successful conception when temperatures are high. It is important to avoid taking too many doses into the barn while breeding to avoid the semen getting too hot. Ideally, take no more than 25 doses of semen at one time. With warmer temperatures, semen is likely to get too hot after 45 minutes in the barn and can affect conception rates. When handling and transporting the doses in the barn, be sure the semen cooler is completely shut and sealed to avoid the doses getting too warm. Check the semen cooler temperature regularly to ensure it maintains a regular temperature. Pull the semen cooler away from the wall to allow for air flow behind the cooler to properly control temperature. For more information on semen handling, review these handling and storage protocols to maximize reproductive success or listen to our podcast on semen management and handling


Like people, hot weather can affect the behavior of animals. It is best to start breeding early in the day to avoid peak temperatures and negative reactions from the animals. During the heat of the day, females exhibit fewer signs of estrus. It is easy to overlook the visual signs of a heat cycle if heat checking and breeding is not complete during the cooler parts of the day. Both sows and boars will perform their best in a comfortable environment. If possible, limit boars to one hour of stimulation to avoid overheating.  


With different protocols and procedures for warm weather breeding, it is important that farm employees are well-equipped with the right tools and resources for success. There are several resources available on the PIC website that can aid in helping prepare for seasonal changes in a breeding facility. The Sow Farm Monthly Checklist provides a list of items that should be completed each month to ensure seasonal success. During summer months, it is tempting to complete tasks quickly; however, it is important to pay attention to the details of a breeding program to avoid a fall-off in conception.  

Barn Environment

The most important tool to preparing the barn for a seasonal change is to plan ahead. Weather can be unpredictable, so being prepared to make rapid adjustments is an essential management practice. Check sensors, clean off fans, update ventilation settings, and remove plastic from cool cells. Using a damp rag to remove dust weekly on ventilation equipment can make a big difference in overall care of the facilities and pig health. Cleaning barn equipment is a simple step in preparation that can greatly impact summer readiness. PIC’s summer preparation podcast can help you prepare your barn for the warm days ahead. 

Sow care and facility maintenance are always a top priority on farms, but weather changes can present new challenges. With the right preparation, training, and attention to detail, these challenges can be avoided, and a successful breeding season can be achieved.  

The Squeal – 204: Warm Weather Breeding, Best Practices  

The Squeal – 205: Preparation and Planning for Successful Conception