Notta Ranch foundation females Notta Pho-Finish 54P and Notta Pretender 64P’s bloodlines are the base of their IVF program.
photo © Grant Rolston
Rob Stables, DVM, looks over cells in the lab at Bow Valley Genetics, Ltd
photo © Bow Valley Genetics
in a shorter period of time. A regular transfer requires 50-60 days between flushes, but with IVF, you can collect every 1-2 weeks, which offers the potential for obtaining more embryos in a shorter period of time.” Stables advises producers to keep reasonable expectations when it comes to using reproductive technologies in their breeding programs. “IVF is not a silver bullet by any means,” said Stables. “Some cows won’t give you any freezable embryos or you might only get a few. That’s just a fact we have to deal with, and it’s not something that can be fixed. “Also keep in mind that genetics is simply a random process that you’re trying to skew in your favor. If you’re using superior genetics and trying to increase your numbers with a specific mating, you’ll find that there are still many differences between full brothers and sisters. However, the more calves that you get from a particular cow, the greater chance you’ll have to obtain those truly superior animals.” Stables encourages producers to do their homework before choosing IVF or conventional ET. “There are currently barriers to exporting IVF embryos,” said Stables. “With conventional ET, the embryo is covered in an egg shell, which protects the embryos from viruses and bacteria. However, with an IVF embryo, the shell is stickier, so our wash material that is used to remove bacteria doesn’t work as well and that’s where the export barrier comes from. We believe it has something to do with he maturation process in a lab verses in the uterus. If a breeder is wanting to flush a cow, I recommend them calling us to discuss the goals of the mating and whether the female would do better in a conventional ET or IVF situation.” In the last five years, Australian Speckle Park breeder Denis Roberts has invested heavily in the best genetics he can find. Using sexed semen and sexed embryos in an
intensive IVF program, Roberts’ AAA Speckle Park stud has quickly grown and gained attention in the show arena. “I saw the Speckle Park breed as a great business opportunity,” said Roberts. “When crossed with Brahman cattle, which are numerous in Australia, they improve yield, increase carcass quality, and produce better tasting meat. Speckle Park cattle add value, and I’ve been focused on that in building my herd based on genetics that will produce a good-muscled, high-marbling animal at a younger age.” For Roberts, IVF was a great option in increasing his herd numbers with minimal labor. “During the week, I’m at my full-time job, so it’s easy to have someone come to my place and get eggs with minimal work,” he said. “Not only is it less labor intensive, but the biggest benefit is there are no drugs required for the donor. Plus, the cost has come down a great deal compared to when I started five years ago. When you’re dealing with high-dollar animals, though, the extra expense is still worth it.” Robert’s advice is to avoid getting caught up in the smoke and mirrors of specific genetics. Instead, focus on your operation’s goals and choose the best bulls for the females you have. “At the end of the day, there hasn’t been a great bull that hasn’t come form a great female, so keep in mind what you’re trying to achieve and select matings that will work to correct feet, increase milk, add muscle and softness, or whatever your focus might be,” he said. Udo Mahne is not only a Speckle Park breeder on his Victoria, Australia-based ranch, Mount Eccles Speckles, but he’s also a veterinarian at Embryo Life and has flushed more than 3,800 cows and transferred more than 27,000 embryos to numerous continents including Africa, South America, Europe and Australia. In recent years, he’s also transferred more than 5,000 beef IVF embryos. With 19 Speckle Park breeders as clients, he’s very invested in building up Speckle Park numbers in Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand. [ C O N TI N U E D O N N E XT PA G E] T H E S P E C K L E PA R K J O U R N A L
Published on Mar 6, 2017
Featuring the 2017 International Semen & Embryo Directory. The official publication of the Canadian Speckle Park Association, published by B...