Aritifical Insemination (AI)

As a Veterinary Biology student at Murdoch University in 1981, Harry achieved some of the first pregnancies using a laparoscopic method to inseminate semen directly into the uterine horns of synchronised ewes. In 1982 extensive trial work was conducted in conjunction with Dr Chis Maxwell, the Great Southern Research Institute Katanning and the Gnowangerup Animal Breeding Centre in Western Australia. This detailed scientific study compared laparoscopic insemination of frozen semen to the traditional fresh semen method. The work clearly demonstrated the potential of this new method and was published in the International Scientific Journal of Agriculture.

The laparoscopic technique of AI has since enabled widespread use of frozen ram semen with commercially viable results. Ewes are inseminated on farm with the breeder managing the preliminary synchronisation work using a program and drugs supplied by Westbreed and the Northam Veterinary Centre. About 14 days prior to the AI date, treatment begins with a long acting intra-vaginal progesterone releasing device. 2 days before AI the device is removed and an injection of gonadotropin allows a fixed time AI.

 

When the WESTBREED team arrives AI is conducted with the assistance of farm labour. Animal welfare is a priority so a combined sedative and mild analgesic is administered prior to AI to minimise possible trauma.

 

Laparoscopic insemination only takes about one minute so the ewe is subjected to very little discomfort before unloading and returning peacefully to their paddock.

 

Success rates in Western Australia average 65% conception during the spring and early summer improving to 75% during late summer and autumn. Lambing rates can vary from 60 to 100% depending on a number of factors of influence.

Variation occurs between years, breeds, individual farms, ewe fertility and different ram semen used for AI.

Artificial Insemination is a very reliable breeding tool.