For a successful sexed semen implementation the following guidelines should be respected:
- Sexed Semen is to be used mainly for heifers. The non-return rates are lower with cows than heifers.
- The timing of insemination is crucial. The amount of cells available in sexed semen straws is lower than for conventional semen. Also the life span is reduced in comparison to conventional semen. The heifers should be best checked 3 times daily for signs of heat. The optimal insemination time is 10 to 12 hours after the beginning of the standing heat. This means that the insemination will be performed rather at the end of the standing heat, as close as possible to the ovulation. When the heat detection is difficult for a heifer it is advised to use conventional semen.
The proper handling of Sexed Semen
- Check the temperature of the water bath. The temperature should be set between 37 and 38°C
- Warm up the insemination device (at least body temperature)
- Be sure to have a short travel from the thawing station to the animal to be inseminated
- Do not thaw more than one straw at a time
- Immerse the straw into the water bath for 40 to 45 seconds
- Dry the straw thoroughly once thawed
- Make sure not to let the straw cool off
- Do not split one straw for 2 animals
- Inseminate directly into the uterine body. There is no need to inseminate into the uterine horn
The most important things for a successful pregnancy are: proper herd management, accurate heat detection, proper sexed semen handling and proper insemination technique.