Dairy Integrated Reproductive Management
Dr. M.L. O’Connor The Pennsylvania State University
Many dairy producers are artificially breeding their own cattle. A recent survey estimated that approximately 63% of the dairy cattle bred artificially in the United States are bred by ownerinseminators. In some states this figure may be lower, but the increase in owner-inseminators is still quite apparent. Various training programs are available to dairy farmers interested in receiving instruction on artificial insemination (Al) technique. Some breeding organizations conduct intensive three to five day training schools; other organizations prefer to provide instruction on an individual onthe-farm basis. Most agricultural colleges devote a whole course or part of a course to the technique of Al. Many good, complete training programs are being conducted. However, the intensity of training and specific recommendations given to the participants may vary considerably among training programs. In developing the manual skills of Al, trainees should work with numerous excised reproductive tracts and receive considerable practice inseminating a variety of live cows. Developing the skill to thread the insemination rod through the cervix should not be the only objective of an Al training program. Along with the technique of cervical penetration, the importance of sanitation must be emphasized and skills perfected to consistently identify the proper site of semen deposition and accurately deposit the semen. In addition, the trainees should obtain a working knowledge of reproductive anatomy and appreciate the essentials of a sound reproductive management program.
Unlike professional technicians whose insemination proficiency is monitored by nonreturn rates calculated by the breeding organizations, the conception rate of owner-inseminators is not monitored and retraining is not provided on a routine basis. This fact sheet reviews some...