Animal Breeding Specialists

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Artificial Insemination (AI)

AI can result in a big improvement in the rate of genetic gain in your flock.

AI makes it possible to use sires you would not otherwise have access to such as rams that are not for sale, rams that are injured or dead or rams in from another country through the use of imported straws. It enables you to form links or connectedness with other flocks so that your database can legitimately compare the performance of your animals with others.

 

In New Zealand, we work in Association with Premier Genetics NZ Ltd. to provide intrauterine AI (or laparoscopic AI) and embryos transfer services. We also carry out AI programmes internationally. For each of our clients, we provide a programme detailing how to prepare the animals for AI, and a list of pre and post insemination management recommendations. Our average conception rate using frozen and thawed semen is 79%.

 

In the 2015 breeding season Liz and Julia covered many kilometers driving between Southland and North Canterbury and thoroughly enjoyed working with breeders of various breeds and hearing their stories about their breeding programmes and farming lives in general.

 

Numbers of ewes inseminated in each programme ranged from 30 to 1467, and conception rates (from the programmes we have results from) ranged from 70 to 93% with an overall average of 79%.

 

The stud with 30 ewes inseminated involved a smaller stud. AI provided the breeder with the opportunity to use several sires with some of the very best genetics available in Australasia—most of the straws used were imported from Australia. It would not have been possible for the breeder to access the same quality of genetics by purchasing the rams—the rams were simply not available for sale! Even if they had been on the market, it would have been uneconomic for the breeder of this relatively small flock to purchase the range of  very high quality sires which were used in the AI programme. The breeder was careful to ensure the programmed ewes were very healthy, were not subjected to any major stress factors for 4 to 6 weeks before and after AI and used sufficient vasectomized rams (6%) to determine the timing of the onset of heat in the ewes programmed for AI. We routinely recommend that 10% more ewes than are to be inseminated are programmed so that only those which are on heat within the best times for conceiving are AI’d. As a result, of the 30 ewes inseminated 28 conceived to the AI— a 93% conception rate. The breeder was very happy with this and with the resulting lambs which are superb!

 

We were honoured to be chosen to do the AI for the NZ Merino Central Progeny test again this year. Over an 8 day period 1467 ewes were inseminated and thanks to the awesome teamwork with the NZ Merino people who prepared the ewes exceptionally well the conception rate was an excellent 80%.

  

In August Julia travelled to Oregon to AI sheep for some clients she had last visited in 2007. It was excellent to touch base with them again, and to share their excitement over their sheep flocks and breeding programmes. The 4 breeders involved on this trip had Border Leicester, Romney or Rambouillet flocks. Unfortunately one experienced a very disappointing conception rate while the other three ranged from 75% to 80%.

 

It is always a privilege to do AI and MOET for our NZ and American breeders. It is exciting to be closely involved in accelerating the genetic performance of their stud flocks, to discuss breeding programmes and to see the results that dedication to their sheep brings.

 

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I would highly recommend the use of AI in our Sheep Industry in order to access top genetics from both here and overseas and maximise the gains that can be made within your own flock.  I have used AI at least six times and have also used Embryo Transplant twice.  I would highly recommend Julia and her Genetic Gains team for these procedures.  Their programme timetable was clearly laid out and easy to follow.  We have had good success rates over the years in both our TEFRom and Suftex studs. -

Russell Welsh, Twin Farm Southland

Contact:

Phone :  +64 3 216 3455
FAX:      +64 3 216 3405
Cell:      +64 274 320 285

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