NATURAL SERVICE & ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION
And that's no Bull!
For centuries Dexter cattle have been the all round, purpose built, small farm addition. Their size makes them perfect for just about any acreage, their adaptability to climatic and feed conditions means they are easy care and their productivity makes them an asset to every property.
However, for many small property owners the prospect of keeping and managing a bull year round is not high on their list of priorities.
Every one has heard the saying “grass makes the bull fat and the bull makes the cow fat!” Well these days the bull can be left out of the equation.
There is easy access to accredited AI sires, whose semen is readily available from genetics centers right across the country.
Many breeders keep small cryogenic semen tanks at home with a ready supply of bulls contained there in. No need to feed and no need to fence, just keep the tank serviced and the bull paddock is taken care of.
For those who prefer the natural way of ensuring their cows produce a calf each year, it is not difficult to find a bull available for paddock service. You simply pay a per cow service fee and the problem is solved.
Most bulls available for service come to you, but some breeders do accept cows on their property for paddock service. Generally they would charge you an additional fee for agistment. Bulls being delivered to you will probably incur a transport fee also. This will vary depending on the individual supplying the bull.
It pays to check the transport costs before committing to the use of the bull so there are no surprises when it comes time to pay the bill.
When should you put the bull over the cows? That is one of those “piece of string” questions. There are a few general rules you should follow.
Generally heifers can be bred from around 16 months of age. This is just a guide. The growth and development of your heifers should be your guide to making decisions about breeding. When you join older cows largely depends on when you want them to calve. Some people prefer a mid autumn calving, particularly if they have cows with over generous udders. The dryer fodder at calving time tends to reduce the over production of milk.
Some breeders plan their calving for spring, others carefully schedule joinings to ensure show cows have calves at foot for the showing season. The timing is up to you.
If you are booking a bull for paddock service, book early. The optimum time for you will probably be the best time for everyone else.
Cows cycle on average every 21 days or there-abouts. A bull will need to be with your cows for two cycles as not every cow will fall pregnant on the first cycle.
So, the reality is, keeping a small herd of Dexter cows productive can be achieved easily and cost effectively and that’s no bull!!
Understanding Semen Availability
There are a number of ways you can obtain semen for your AI Program
DCAI Accredited AI Sires: Semen from Accredited AI sires is collected in approved AI collection centres. Before being collected the bull undergoes rigorous testing to ensure it is free of any diseases that can be transferred in the semen. The bull is also checked for soundness and structural faults that may be genetic and may compromise the structural integrity of any offspring. The DCAI Accreditation criteria is set out in the DCAI Herdbook Regulations.
Prior to the current system of accreditation bulls were assessed and approved as AI sires. These Sires are noted as DCAI approved and are still able to be used in the Australian herd and the resulting progeny are eligible for registration.
Privately Collected Semen:
Bull owners can have semen collected and stored for use in their own herd. This can be done by a suitably qualified technician and does not require any permissions from DCAI.
Privately collected semen can be sold as ownership shares in a bull with the maximum number of shares being eight shares in total for bulls registered as being multiply owned after 2009. Bulls registered previously are restricted to five ownership shares.
The DCAI Herdbook Regulations outline all regulations for the collection and selling of semen, the registration of multiply owned bulls and the importation of semen from other countries. DCAI Advises anyone seeking to collect or purchase semen to familiarise themselves with the DCAI Herdbook Regulations particularly those regulations pertaining to Bull Accreditation, Multiple ownership and Imported Animals.