Protect your investment in semen purchases

Proper semen handling will help realise the investment in quality genetics
Proper semen handling will help realise the investment in quality genetics

Research and on-farm experience have illustrated the success of Sexcel, the latest innovative technology from Genus ABS.

However the investment in this technology needs to be protected by careful handling of the straws of semen.

James Woods, Reproductive Management Services, Genus ABS explains: “Every semen collection from Genus ABS Sires undergoes a series of rigorous quality control evaluations to ensure that every straw sold meets our high standards.” To get the best possible results from using Sexcel genetics, farmers should use the following straw handling protocols:

1. Straw identification and transfer

• Use the tank inventory card to identify the goblet location containing the straw.

• Never lift the goblet above the frost line in the neck of the tank.

• If the straw is not identifiable within 10 seconds, lower the goblet back into the liquid nitrogen for at least 10 seconds before recommencing identification.

• Use the appropriate tweezers for 0.25cc straws, never fingers, to pick up straws.

2. Thawing procedure

• Genus ABS recommends thawing only one straw of Sexcel at a time as the objective is to thaw the number of straws that can be inseminated within five minutes of thawing.

• Replace the thaw bath water daily and ensure the temperature is between 35C to 37C (95F to 98F) using a thermometer.

• Thaw the straw in the water bath for 30 seconds.

• Remove the straw from the water using tweezers and protect from the environment using a clean, dry paper towel. Use the paper towel to dry the straw.

3. Move the air bubble

• Gently shake the straw taking it with the tip of your fingers by the crimped end to move the semen to the plugged end and air upwards to the crimped end of the straw. Shaking the straw will not damage the sperm cells, if the bubble is not moved, 1-5% of the sperm will be lost.

• Ensure that there is minimal time between removing the straw from the thawing bath and loading it into the AI gun, and that you protect the straw from cold wind and sun light.

4. Load the AI gun

• Place the thawed straw into the pre-warmed AI gun with the plugged end first.

• Cut the straw at 90 degrees 1cm below the crimped end, with clean scissors or a straw cutter.

• Place the plastic sheath over the loaded AI rod. Ensure that the straw enters and adapts well inside the green or blue plastic piece of the sheath.

• Carefully depress the plunger so that semen enters the end of the straw but does not escape from the sheath, removing the air bubble from the straw.

The use of a plastic ‘chemise sanitaire’ is recommended on top of the AI gun sheath.

5. Number of straws per heifer

• Inseminate one complete straw per heifer, do not split straws.

To maximise the best possible chance of success when using Sexcel, heifers should be settled, stress free and have been reared successfully to an optimal weight and body condition score.

For further information on Sexcel, James Woods can be contacted at 07772 227886