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Livestock value chain/Jamaica – Artificial Insemination and Embryo Transfer boosts cattle productivity

14 December 2015

The Artificial Insemination Unit has transformed it’s fresh semen insemination programme to a frozen semen preservation. Also known as the AI Unit, Artificial Insemination Unit offers 15,000 straws of semen from a stud of seventeen bulls. The preserved semen is supplied not only to local livestock farms, but exported to countries including Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago in the eastern Caribbean. The main thrust of AI Unit is to guarantee rapid multiplication of improved quality livestock. This is done through selective qualification of donors and recipients who display high genetic value, characterizations and have proven to carry pregnancies. It is expected that in future, artificial insemination services will also be offered to swine and small ruminants livestock industry, and Embryo Transfer services made available to cattle owners. The Veterinary Services Division has plans of procuring specialized equipment and establishing facilities specific to these extension activities. In order to ensure the highest quality of seed collected, the donor animals has to undergo a Breeding Soundness Examination (BSE) before being admitted to the programme. The BSE consists of a general physical examination of a bull with a more detailed examination of its reproductive genitalia (organs) and evaluation of the collected semen (seed). This is done by looking at the overall morphology and motility of the sperm, also known as microscopic examination. Once they pass the BSE, bulls are quarantined before being admitted into stud herd. The semen straws are carefully stockpiled in specialized liquid nitrogen storage tanks at a constant temperature of -196 degrees Celsius before supplied for domestic use or exported. As for domestic usage, local livestock farmers are provided with assistance in the manipulation of the reproductive cycles of females through a highly trained cadre of veterinary officers and artificial insemination technicians/animal health technicians.



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