When insemination goes hand in hand with safety and performance
More than 75% of French dairy cows (about 37% of dairy ewes and 80% of goats) are inseminated each year. These significant figures are concrete proof of the adoption of this technique by farmers and breeders.
In suckler herds animal artificial insemination is scarcely 13% in cattle and 8% in sheep, and natural mating is still preferred for practical reasons: the reproduction period is in spring, the cows are out to pasture and heat detection is more difficult, whereas in dairy farming it is easier to detect heat as the farmer sees his animals twice a day for milking.
Easy to use and safer
Although it is true that artificial insemination requires more observation of the animals in order to detect heat, natural mating requires management of service dates and safe handling of the bull. Having a bull on the farm makes it necessary to have suitable farming tools and could be a real danger for the farmer if he does not take appropriate safety measures.
A health guarantee
Insemination is a true health guarantee for the farmer. In fact, it represents real protection against contagious diseases. Just after the war, the bull used for service could transmit brucellosis or other venereal diseases to all the cowsheds. The rigorous health control protocols at each stage of the procedure from the bull entering the station up to insemination make traceability and flawless health quality possible. As a result of artificial insemination the health level of females has improved considerably and a dozen sexually transmitted diseases have been eradicated in males, such as brucellosis and metritis.
Access to better genetics at controlled cost
By choosing a bull with known performance that is better in comparison with other bulls, action is taken directly for improving certain criteria: quantity and quality of milk per cow, fertility and health, etc. In concrete terms the choice of the best bull results in improvement in production and production factors for its daughters and therefore involves a direct improvement factor in the financial margin on farms. However, insemination in particular makes it possible to access bulls with high genetic potential. Whereas before the best bulls belonged to a few farmers, they are now available to all farmers. Indeed, AI represents a very low cost compared with the purchase and upkeep of a bull. As selection and reproduction cooperatives do not pay dividends, the profits made by the company are directly reinvested in research and breeding schemes.