Don Levis, University of Nebraska swine specialist, reviews hazards that can hinder your artifical insemination program. Here he looks at the laboratory:

- Unorganized, under-equipped. A semen processing lab doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive, but it must be clean.

It needs a washable floor and work surface, wipe-clean walls, floor and wall-mounted cupboards, a double sink, drying rack, hot and cold running water. It also needs electricity with at least four sockets and adequate lighting, but avoid ultraviolet light.

Consider work-flow and distance between work stations. Place semen-handling stations away from direct sunlight.

- Location. An on-farm semen processing lab should be close to the collection area.

If the lab is in the same building, a “pass-through” heated cabinet with sliding windows on each side is a wise measure. 

- Improper equipment storage or cleaning. Disposable equipment minimizes sanitation breakdowns. Clean reusable equipment by washing in a laboratory detergent and tap water, followed by rinsing with distilled, reverse-osmosis water, then with a 70
percent alcohol rinse.

Heat sterilize equipment by boiling in distilled water for 20 minutes. Store equipment in a small, clean cabinet where the temperature remains about 102° F. Line it with 1-inch Styrofoam and include two thermostatically controlled, 25-watt bulbs.

Items in this column are drawn from Swine Practitioner, a sister publication of PORK’98.