Some breeders are hesitant about embarking on Embryo Transfer. To alleviate some of the reticence, we would like to illustrate the basic steps that are part of our routine when preparing for a flush.
We contact the Embryo Transfer Vet to arrange a date for our flush to take place. We advise how many cows we want to flush and how many recipients we hope to programme as well. We also advise whether we will be using AI or natural mating or a mix of both.
The Vet then sends a programme for us to follow.
After selecting the cow/s that we want flushed, we give an injection of Vitamin ADE, drench them with an injectable product and place them in a paddock with minimal pasture hay ad lib low quality hay and a daily ration of a low energy grain mix. This ration is slowly built up from 500gms to 2 kg a day over the time of the flush programme.
The selection of suitable bulls is vital. If we are using one of your own proven bulls, he needs to be in top condition, having been drenched, vaccinated and his mineral and nutrition requirements met. He is put in a separate paddock with ad lib hay and a small amount of grain each day.
If we are using Artificial Insemination, we order the semen and make sure it will be in the AI Technicians possession at least 2 weeks prior to the joining date.
Vet doing AI
Next the choice of donors is very important. We use quiet Lowline Cross heifers that we have raised ourselves. They have usually been cycling for at least 6 months prior to entering a programme and are more than 250kg. We find temperament in recipients is very important for the retention of embryos. The recipients are also given a Vitamin ADE injection and subcutaneous drench. They are then moved into a separate paddock with ad lib hay to also bring them up on a rising plane of nutrition.
Prior to beginning the programme we usually get the Vet to examine all females internally, both donors and recipients, to eliminate any cysts or other abnormalities. This saves time and money as an unsuitable donor or recipient can be replaced with a more suitable one before the costly drugs are used.
Finding and grading embryos
Once the programme is over and embryos have been implanted, the care of the recipients is vital. Our recipients are run as a separate mob and put into a small paddock with good quality ad lib hay. We do not run steers or bulls anywhere near them.
We find the above routine gives us a very high percentage of Grade 1 embryos and the few Grade 3 embryos we implant are resulting in a more than 50% pregnancy rate.
We have also heard from our clients who have implanted our Grade 1 embryos, that the pregnancy rate is well above average.
We also must emphasise the importance of a good Embryos Transfer Vet, whose final decision as to the grade of the embryo examined, is vital to the result of a pregnancy.