Benefits of artificial insemination in livestock

What is artificial insemination and why would a livestock producer want to AI his breeding stock?

Artificial insemination (AI) is the process of collecting sperm cells from a male animal and manually depositing them into the reproductive tract of a female. Artificial insemination is commonly used instead of natural mating in many species of animals because of the many benefits it can reap. These benefits include increased safety of the animals and producer, increased production efficiency and better genetics.

Artificial insemination can reduce many of the risks involved with breeding. Natural mating is a stressful process that has a much higher tendency to result in injuries or accidents of both the animals and producer. Particularly in cattle, males tend to be very large and sometimes aggressive. Artificial insemination removes all risks involved with keeping a male on the premise. Furthermore, artificial insemination reduces the risk of transmitting diseases. The entire artificial insemination procedure is much more hygienic than natural mating. All the tools and equipment are sterilized both before and after. The entire procedure is altogether a much cleaner and sanitary process.

Artificial insemination also increases efficiency. Most males usually produce enough sperm in a single ejaculate to be diluted and extended enough to create over one hundred doses. For some species, diluted semen is then packaged into “straws” and frozen. These straws of frozen semen are typically stored in a nitrogen tank where they will last for years and can be used as needed. The semen can also be shipped to various livestock producers around the United States, allowing them to artificially inseminate their herds. This gives many producers the opportunity to avoid keeping a male on the farm or potentially having to take their breeding animals to a male.

Lastly, artificial insemination can drastically improve the genetics of your herd. With artificial insemination becoming increasingly popular, many producers collect semen from their herd sires and make it available to other producers for purchase. This gives producers the opportunity to select what they want to breed their animals to. Proven and better genetics are becoming readily more available across the nation, and the quality of livestock in the Unites States continues to increase.

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