No Work for the Bull

AUSTRALIA - With available work for the the Australian dairy bull decreasing, the LIC is worried that the animal will become almost completely redundant.
calendar icon 24 January 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

According to the LIC, more dairy cows than ever before being artificially inseminated (AI) in the 2007/2008 season.

The dairy industry is growing and demand for cows bred by top AI sires has never been higher. Farmers traditionally put the majority of their herd to AI with a 'tail-end' bull used for the last few - but, with cow prices exceeding $2,000, many are using AI for the whole herd.

This season showed the biggest increase in artificial insemination since LIC first offered the service more than 50 years ago.

More cows and fewer bulls translates to the need for more Artificial Breeding (AB) Technicians.

“The dairy industry is going through a growth phase, one we expect to continue for some time,” said LIC Genetics General Manager Peter Gatley. "It takes three years from mating until the new replacement animal starts milking, and then we'll have to breed even more to replace the cows that farmers are currently retaining to meet the shortfall".

“There is certainly job security for good AB Technicians,” said Mr Gatley.

“Bulls are pretty much redundant for breeding replacements as farmers demand high Breeding Worth (BW) genetics which are only available from the top AI sires.

"Farmers can access the top bulls in the world for less than $20 so having a bunch of bulls running amok in the herd is not particularly attractive. Some farmers won't have a bull on the property now.

“LIC breeds four out of every five dairy cows in New Zealand so there's plenty of work. We have nearly a thousand AB Technicians on the go each spring and on average they stick with it for about 8 years so it's obviously a pretty good job."

Mr Gatley said LIC trains more AB technicians every year, and is currently on the lookout for new people to join the team.

“Getting the cows in calf is the most important job on the farm, and the genetic gain from AI drives more than half the on-farm productivity improvement, so the job of an AB Technician is hugely satisfying.”

TheCattleSite News Desk

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