Cattle breeders wishing to increase genetic gains from their herd can now call on a mobile in-vitro embryo production(IVP)service that will cover the UK.
Artificial breeding technology company AB Europe says IVP is a more efficient and higher-welfare method than multiple ovulation embryo transfer (MOET).
This is due to less handling and more breeding opportunities through the year, according to AB Europe veterinarian Gavin Tait.
Launching the IVP service yesterday (29 September), Mr Tait (pictured below) said the process of an on-farm collection and embryo development cost just over £300 and was “very competitive” compared with the cost of standard MOET.
He said farms also have the option of boarding cows at the company’s laboratory and isolation facility at Thorneydykes, Edinburgh, which has 20 calves “on the ground” this year.
Furthermore, the benefits, which include weekly rather than monthly collections and broader collection windows, mean genetic gain can potentially be faster, he added.
“There are different ways to look at cost,” stresses Mr Tait. “There is the cost to produce an embryo or a pregnancy. Additional charges can be applied for freezing or vitrification, but a rough figure is just over £300.
“A further benefit of IVP is you can breed from very old cows with very high genetic merit, or animals that are problem breeders. Cows don’t have to be kept open – collections can happen when they are pregnant and again four weeks post-calving.
“Also, we tend to find cows that have an IVF collection get in calf very easily. With MOET there is a tendency for some cows to have issues getting back in calf.”