Straw of semen in an AI flask© Tim Scrivener

Funding for the AHDB Beef & Lamb DIY artificial insemination (AI) courses has been extended, with a further 250 places available following excellent uptake of the initiative in 2017. 

The courses have been extended to March 2020 and are available to suckler producers with more than 30 breeding females.

Farmers will have 50% of the course cost covered by AHDB Beef & Lamb.

See also: Fixed-time AI improves calf weights for Welsh beef producer

Training will be delivered by XL Vets Training Services and Westpoint Farm Vets at various locations around the country.

Why use AI?

AI is not commonly used on suckler farms, but it can be an excellent way of improving herd genetics without the cost of buying and keeping a bull on farm.

Using AI enables producers to select bulls that are suited to their herd’s breeding programme. Sires can be chosen for both maternal and terminal traits and sexed semen is also available, enabling producers to breed their own replacement heifers.

Using AI sires to breed replacements also removes the need to replace stock bulls every two years.

Amy Fawcett, AHDB Beef & Lamb knowledge exchange manager, said: “ Giving producers the ability to perform AI themselves enables them to serve cattle at the correct time and reduce service costs. Producers can also take advantage of sexed-semen technology to breed their replacements, producing high-genetic merit animals that will perform well in their herds.”

The funding will also be available to final year agriculture students who can demonstrate how they will use the skills gained on the course in their future career.

Go to AHDB Beef & Lamb for more information, including how to book a course.