Farms take different approach on use of artificial insemination PDF Print E-mail
Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Farm Editor   
Tuesday, 10 September 2013 09:46
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Richard Strow holds an empty straw that previous held bull semen. (Photo: Shane Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)
For the cow-calf operations, the beef farmers either use artificial insemination (A-I) or let nature take its course with a live bull. Sometimes they will use both.
Richard Strow of rural Custar uses artificial methods exclusively; while Bowling Green's Richard Bostdorff has a bull which primarily handles the herd.
Strow does not have a bull on his property as he breeds from embryo transplants and artificial insemination
By not having a bull, he is able to impregnate his cows with a variety of semen specimens to try and achieve the highest quality calves.
His semen is stored in three small tanks containing liquid nitrogen which preserves the semen until it is time to be used.
"There isn't a bull in there that can hurt me," he said gesturing towards his cattle holding area.
Within the tanks, the semen is stored in what he describes as small straws similar to a coffee stir stick.
His containers hold roughly 200-250 straws from different bulls. Many will never be used as they may be samples from a bull whose semen did not produce a quality calf.
"There are just some which we didn't like," he said.
The frozen embryos are also stored in the containers.
He likes to use those embryos from time to time to produce a higher quality animal.
"Some are out of a $20,000 cow," he said noting he would never own such a high-priced cow, but yet is still able to breed from that stock using the embryos.
"It gives you an opportunity to tap into some awfully good genetics."
He said there is roughly a 50-percent conception rate, thus calling the process "high risk."
Once implanted or inseminated, the cow is checked with a blood test to see if she is pregnant. If not, the process can be repeated.
For his Charolais herd, Bostdorff has a bull who is always with the herd.
This year there is a new bull on the farm and he has been pleased with the bull's temperament and work with the herd. He was bought at the Ohio Expo.
While Bostdorff said he started with artificial insemination for impregnating his cows, he now has the bull and lets nature take its course.
Richard's brother, Bob Strow, uses both methods.
"We breed A-I at least one round. We won't put a bull in until later," he said.
Though he primarily deals in Angus cattle, he says his bull is a semi-Angus bull.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 September 2013 11:32
 

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