Cattle Medicine and Reproduction

Valley Veterinary Surgery offers a wide range of cattle reproduction services including semen collection, artificial insemination and North Queensland's only cattle embryo transfer service. Cattle services include pregnancy diagnosis and Bull Breeding Soundness Evaluations, disease surveillance (eg pestivirus, vibrio) as well as disease prevention and advice.

  • Artificial insemination (AI) with chilled or frozen semen gives you access to cattle from overseas as well as Australia wide. An added benefit is breeding your cattle close to home in a safe well managed environment.
  • Prebreeding or fertility examinations should be carried out on any cow with a history of reproductive problems. Indentifying the cause of poor fertility allows you to make an informed decision about breeding your cattle.
  • Uterine biopsy and cytology allow evaluation of the health of the endometrium, the uterine lining, and indentification of changes affecting the fertility.

What is Embryo Transfer?

Embryo Transfer is basically, multiple injections of hormone to stimulate and multiply the ovulations in the cow that you want to get the embryos from. Then:

  • The donor cow is inseminated at normal time but 12 hours apart and 3-4 times
  • Seven (7) days later the rinsing out of the uterus to extract the embryos and ova (unfertilised, fertilised or degenerate)
  • Isolation of the good embryos using a microscope and then transfer into the recipient cows or frozen.

Benefits of Embryo Transfer for farmers.

Basically it multiplies the offspring of the farmers best animals. Farmers can use their best bulls over their best cow or heifer and get a good calf whereas now the farmer can run an embryo program and possibly get a life times' production with one flush.

Embryo Transfer is now accepted as the quickest and most cost efficient method of increasing the rate of genetic improvement within a herd. For beef and dairy operations, it can be a valuable addition to any breeding program, leading to greater efficiency and profitability.

Conception Rate.

With embryo transfer an already fertilised egg is being inserted, which eliminates one of the steps of artificial insemination so the conception rate should be 5 - 10% higher than artificial insemination, but a lot depends on the condition of the recipients. On an A.I. program the conception rate is 60 - 65% while on an embryo transfer program it is expected roughly the same sometimes a bit higher.

Embryo Transfer offers farmers the chance to :

  • Produce up to ten or more progeny per year from their best cows.
  • Profit from the increased sale of quality genetics without losing the bloodlines.
  • Extend the productive life of some older cows, incapable of carrying another calf by producing further progeny through the use of embryo transfer.
  • Conserve the genetics in their herd through the uses of, embryo freezing for, export, domestic sale or future transfers on their own farm.
  • Introduce top genetics into the farmers herd, rapidly and economically from Australian and overseas.

The top cattle in any herd are rarely available for purchase, however the owners are often willing to sell embryos. The importation of new blood stock can be achieved safely and economically through the purchase of embryos from anywhere in the world, once the quarantine regulations have been fulfilled.