27 September 1996

Technique works a treat

COWS that seemed unable to get in calf and were deemed barren are now pregnant and will produce another lactation at Hook Farm, Wootton Bassett, Wilts.

Three animals in James and Jane Woolfords 150-cow, 7000-litre herd have been treated for infertility using ET; all are in-calf.

One heifer that gave 8000 litres in her first lactation failed to conceive after her fourth service, says Mr Woolford. But he was loath to cull her and his vet Peter May suggested he tried embryo transfer.

"It was worth a try to give her another lactation," says Mr Woolford. "It does appear to be successful and is economic. Now when younger animals have been served three times we will try using it as a routine."

The process is quick and easy, claims Mr Woolford. "When a repeat breeder comes bulling we notify the vet, who visits seven days later. First the animal is scanned and, providing she is cycling normally, two beef embryos are transferred."n