Under artificial insemination (AI) method, semen is collected from a bull and deposited in the uterus of a cow.
The semen is placed in the uterine horns so that its chances of survival and causing fertilisation increase.
Benefits of artificial insemination
There can be rapid improvement in milk production of the herd if many cows are of good breed (If the semen used is from top quality animals).
The farmer has a variety of bulls and breeds to choose from and facilitates crossbreeding.
Semen from one bull can be used for inseminating many cows.
This means more calves from good bulls. One portion of semen from one bull can be divided into enough doses to inseminate 400 cows.
In natural mating, an ejaculate from a bull serves only one cow. In one year, semen from one bull can be used on thousands of cows, yet naturally a bull can serve only about 30 cows per year.
By using AI, venereal diseases, usually spread by bulls during mating, can be eliminated from the herd and injuries to the cow resulting from natural mating can be avoided.
Frozen semen can be used over a long period of time. It is kept in liquid nitrogen at 196oC.
AI allows elimination of bulls on the farm, which are known to kill people and destroy infrastructure, especially fencing, pens and buildings.
In zero grazing units, it is cheaper to use AI. Bulls need a lot of feeding and very strong infrastructure and barbed wire to restrain them.
AI requires good records, which improve the management of the herd.
Limitations of using AI
AI needs proper heat detection. Failure to detect heat is one of the major causes of low reproductive efficiency on farms.
Skilled personnel are required to carry out insemination.
Timely communication to the inseminator for insemination is needed.
Lack of AI inputs, for example, liquid nitrogen is a major setback to proper functioning of an AI system.
If selection of AI bulls is not done properly, undesired hereditary defects can be widely spread within a short time.
The regular use of AI in a certain area requires a well-organised AI system with continuous recording and monitoring and well trained AI personnel (inseminators).