To be sure of getting a superior calf, dairy farmers are advised to use artificial insemination (AI).
The only challenge dairy farmers using AI for serving their cows is the lack of genuine semen.
“On average, my cows are served more than five times before they finally conceive,” says Sarah Namulindwa, who has four cows in Seeta, Mukono district. And yet, for every insemination, she pays sh50,000 to the veterinary officer. This means that she loses around sh150,000 for every AI session.
According to veterinary officers, one of the reasons cows fail to conceive through AI is because the semen may be dead. But then, the problem may not be with the inseminators themselves, but with the semen handling. This is responsible for reduced conception rates of semen by up to 60 percent.
“AI reduces incidences were farmers get male calves, especially if a farmer uses ‘sexed semen’,” Dr Arthur Tumwine says.
AI technology entails collection of semen from the male and introducing into the female reproductive tract using instruments. In livestock breeding, semen from superior and tested sires including bulls is collected and used for AI.
Tips for vets on proper handling of semen
-Make sure that the tank has enough liquid nitrogen (LN) because this is what protects the semen. A tank should not be used for more than 10 years.
-Get out only semen that you are going to use. If it is got out it should not be taken back again.
-Know the holding period of your semen tank. Some can hold semen for 10-15 hours, while others hold it for over 20 days.