Embryo transfer is a technique that is now finding favour with pedigree and commercial dairy farmers.
This now proven technology is helping herdowners advance the pace of genetic improvement within their businesses at an acceptable level of cost.
Helping to drive this process on here in Northern Ireland is Co Tyrone-based JK Genetics. Owned by Jonathan Kelso, a man that is closely associated with the renowned Moree Holstein herd, the company was established 12 months ago.
“We are an embryo marketing organisation, involved in the sale and sourcing of embryos worldwide,” he said.
“Our aim is to provide customers with the genetics that suit them at the best possible value.”
Jonathan explained that JK Genetics will source and supply four main types of embryos for customers.
“Obviously, we will supply elite embryos for those high-end pedigree herdowners, who want to drive genomic progress forward as quickly as possible,” he said.
“Linked to this is the use of embryos that can help herdowners here in Northern Ireland start new cow families. An example of this is the work we did with Co Antrim Holstein breeder Conor Casey in establishing the Georgia Family. This has resulted in numerous bulls enter AI.
“We are also able to supply embryos for those commercial farmers who want to produce good, milking cows, but with the desire to speed up the level of genomic improvement they wish to secure within their businesses.
“We also provide stopper embryos to farmers with healthy cows that keep repeating. This is now recognised as a very efficient way of maintaining cows with tremendous production potential within a milking group.
“We use embryos produced by cows within the Moree herd for this purpose. In all cases we will discuss the breeding needs of the customer and reflect this fully in the embryos supplied.”
Currently, JK Genetics is sourcing a selection of the best dairy genetics available from breeders around the world. This includes red and white plus polled Holstein bloodlines.
“There is also a growing demand for sexed embryos, which we can also supply,” said Jonathan.
Recent successes achieved by JK Genetics include the sourcing of Seanacourt Solomon Frosty. The Solomon daughter did tremendously well at a number of shows, including Tullamore, last year in the Republic of Ireland.
Hallow Dorman Abrakazoo 1 and Hallow Abrakazoo 2, also sourced by JK Genetics, were the champion and reserve champion at the Irish National YMA Calf Show in 2017.
Other achievements by Jonathan include the marketing of the embryos from a JK Genetics-owned animal to breed the number one and number two GPLI polled females. These were from a former number one GPLI in-milk animal: A red carrier, Label P member of the Larcrest Cosmopolitan family.
Over the past number of months, Jonathan has sold embryos to customers in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, France, the USA and Canada. He has recently returned from the World dairy Expo, where JK Genetics had its own successful trade stand.
Jonathan concluded: “Successful implantation rates with embryos can be as high as 70%. But as a rule of thumb, expect two calves produced from every four embryos implanted.”
For further information, contact Jonathan Kelso on 077292 18118.