[Thanks to Dr. Chandrasiri for providing more background to his initial message of 21 July....Moderator]
I am A.D.N. Chandrasiri (PhD), Veterinary Research Officer attached to the Veterinary Research Institute, Sri Lanka.
Although AI can be considered as an alternative reproductive method to natural service, this technique is not very popular among the small scale dairy farmers. In Sri Lanka, the first AI calf was born in 1952. Although there are many advantages of the technique, the present AI coverage is approximately 15%. In other words, 85% of the breedable cows are naturally bred. Although it is very expensive to maintain a stud bull, in tea plantation areas where high yielding temperate type of cows are being maintained, the majority of the cows are still naturally bred.
There are many reasons for this situation. But I feel the most important factor is lack of farmer education. A recent study carried out in Sri Lanka indicated that 12% of the AIs have been performed during the luteal phase (based on milk progesterone levels at day 0 samples). I believe the situation is the same in many of the developing countries. If the farmers can be educated on proper heat detection and correct time of AI, that alone may cause significant improvement in the AI service.
In Sri Lanka, embryo transfer (ET) technique is still under experimental basis. It will take few more years to get the ET technique established on commercial basis. Once it is established, multiple ovulation and embryo transfer (MOET) technique will have a greater impact on livestock production. MOET can be practiced in the farms where elite herds are maintained and more animals can be made available to the farmers.
As slaughter of buffaloes and female cattle is prohibited in Sri Lanka, slaughter house ovaries are not freely available. Therefore in-vitro maturation/fertilisation/culture (IVM/IVF/IVC) procedures to produce embryos cannot be applied. Collaborative programs with the countries where slaughterhouse ovaries are freely available would solve this problem. For example, in certain provinces in India where buffaloes and cattle are being slaughtered in a large scale, slaughterhouse ovaries can be used to produce IVF embryos. It will be able to produce sexed embryos with known genetic composition to suit the breeding programs of the recipient country. Such type of program will certainly help to develop the livestock industry in the region. Much faster development can be achieved, if the countries with different resources get together and work for common objectives than attempting to solve the problems individually.
A.D.N. Chandrasiri, PhD
Veterinary Research Institute
P. O. Box 28
Tel: 0094 8 388311-2
Fax: 0094 8 388125
E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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