Cattle Artificial Insemination Course 2019: 

How to increase the results of your Artificial Inseminations!

The First Absolute Genetics Cattle AI Course in collaboration with Rothmans Livestock Training Services, Ramsem and Taurus Evolution took place this past August in Bloemfontein.

24 participants, varying in age, took part in this 3-day theory and practical course. The course material gave an in-depth background on artificial insemination and all aspects around it. The veterinarians involved also provided lectures on the specific AI programs to optimise results with AI on especially Beef heifers and cows with research done in South America (see below explanation)

Here is some of the topics discussed:

  • Anatomy of the female reproductive organs
  • Physiology of the Bovine Female
  • Advantages & Disadvantages of AI
  • Legal requirements for sale of semen and AI bulls
  • Oestrus Observation (Heat Spotting).
  • Infertility
  • Normal Reproduction
  • Synchronization and examples of programs to optimize results
  • AI Technique
  • Handling of Semen & Flasks, Defrosting, Loading and Preparation

The practical side of the course started with the participants practicing on reproductive organs from the abattoir which allowed them to see and feel exactly where the AI pistolet had to be passed. After this each participant had the opportunity to practice on approximately 5 donor cows

In terms of the hormone programs the South American examples (see diagram to the left) were discussed with the attendees of the course:

These results show that cows with a body condition score of between 2 and 3 (out of 5) show the biggest increase in conception results when PMSG hormone is added to the AI program. Conception results were as much as 20% higher in body condition score 2 and 10% higher in body condition score 3 cows treated with PMSG at time of Progestin removal compared with the non-pmsg group.

This has a major advantage in the South African context where the rainfall patterns have moved later on into the breeding season. Most cattle breeders (summer rainfall area) aim to start their mating season in October / November but the lack of Spring rains in recent years has resulted in very little / no green pasture available during this time on which to flush feed cows. Even with additional lick many of the cows with calves at foot are in a 2,5 body condition score at the start of the mating season (ideal is 3 to 3,5 at mating). The addition of pmsg to a standard progesterone synchronization protocol can therefore prove highly beneficial during this time of the breeding season. The standard application of these fixed time Ai protocols in Brazil and Argentina have resulted in more and more  breeders achieving a 50 to 60% conception on the first day of their breeding season. In Brazil alone there is an estimated 15 million+ cattle being inseminated every year. The shortened intercalving period of the herd has a major advantage in terms of heavier calves at weaning (average of 30kg per calf if compared to a calf arriving late in the calving season).

It is important to note that the experience of the inseminator as well as quality of the semen plays a huge roll in achieving said results. For this reason and also to prevent disease transmission it is advised only to make use of semen from a registered Ai bull that  has been collected in a registered bull station.

This course also included specials on synchronisation hormones available at Abslute Genetics / Ramsem.

Hierdie kursus sluit ook spesiale aanbod op sinkronisasie middels beskikbaar by Absolute Genetics / Ramsem.

All in all, it was a great success with each participant walking away feeling confident to artificially inseminate their own cattle.

We are looking forward to our next AI Cattle course in October where we hope to encourage the next group of participants to confidently AI.

The next AI courses is scheduled for 14-16 Oct 2019 and 20-22 Jan 2020. Contact us today to book your place.

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