Keen farmers may save 60 per cent livestock breeding losses

Checking breed records before artificial insemination (AI) services can increase farmer’s chances of getting the anticipated offspring results by more than 60 per cent, which would save them from spiraled losses in dismal production.

Elizabeth Mugera, a Nairobi County livestock officer, said mischievous AI providers may take advantage of the trust of farmers and offer expired semen.

”It takes less than two minutes to examine the straw containing the semen that the officer is about to use. Inasmuch as some failed fertilisation cases can be attributed to wrong timing, expired semen is a definite cause of unsuccessful services,” the senior livestock health officer said.

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Expiry dates and the name of the source bull are written on the semen straw; they are not easy to alter.

kakamega cow.JPG

Implications of failed AI

 AI services in Kenya cost between Sh700 and Sh1,500 depending on the region and any subsidy from county governments.

Two failed AI services mean loss of about Sh2,000 besides husbandry costs. The implication will be that the cow will be unproductive for longer periods.

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At the same time, less keen farmers risk their cows being served with semen from a bull they did not ask for, she said.

“It is important to know the history of the father and the mother of the source semen bull. If close relatives were not performers, do not expect the offspring to give you good results. One needs to know the exact breed and the bulls they want to use ahead of the arrival of the AI officer,” Mugera said.

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Inbreeding

Similarly, the records will prevent inbreeding, which will lead to low performance while increasing chances of transfer of undesired hereditary characteristics.

Passing of lethal genes can be controlled by crosschecking your records as a farmer with those of the officer. It does not harm to check, but it harms not to,” Mugera said.

These and observation of heat signs would increase chances of conception.

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The officer is in charge of Nairobi West Sub-county.