Artificial Insemination in Cattle
(AI, A.I., breeding, artificial breeding)
Artificial insemination (AI) in cattle refers to depositing frozen-thawed semen into the uterus of a cow known to be in heat via the use of a pipette. A skilled technician or veterinarian is able to manipulate the semen loaded pipette through the cervix with minimal trauma and deposit the semen at the appropriate location in the uterus. Common practice today is to use an estrus synchronization protocol and AI the cow or heifer at a fixed time interval. A realistic pregnancy rate following artificial insemination is 70%.
-What is artificial insemination?
Artificial insemination is when a veterinarian or trained technician deposits semen into the cervix or uterus of an animal in heat with hopes of creating a pregnancy. The semen is either frozen then thawed or from a fresh collection.
-Why artificially inseminate?
Artificial Insemination is a way to introduce high quality genetics in a more affordable way than purchasing expensive bulls. It is one of the best ways to rapidly improve the genetic quality of a herd.
-Can Artificial insemination hurt production?
Possibly. Pregnancy rates are variable following AI and depends on several factors, such as experience of technician, cow/heifer response, quality of semen, proper handling of frozen semen at all points of contact, etc. It is recommended that a “clean-up” bull is put in with the cows/heifers following AI to decrease production losses.
-What are the risks of artificial inseminating my cattle?
There are few risks to the cattle being AI’d. It is a relatively safe procedure. On occasion, a technician may puncture the wall of the uterus. This may result in an abscess, but usually heals without problems. Also, the straw may fall out of the insemination gun and get deposited in the uterus requiring surgical removal.
-Things to remember during the A.I. process:
1. Pregnancy rates are lower in the heat of the summer
2. Cattle need to be in good condition to achieve acceptable results
3. Minimal stress handling improves outcomes. Stress decreases pregnancy rates.