|Moyle Pathfinder - Invest in the Future
| AI and ET at Pathfinder
In the next 12 months about 1350 Pathfinder cows will
calve. About 75% of them will have been conceived
using AI, about 9% will have been conceived using
embryo transfer (ET) while only 16% will have been
conceived using natural mating.
In a commercial herd, natural mating’s are simple,
straight forward and the lowest cost/calf. Provided both
the cows and bulls are healthy and in the right
condition, close to 100% conception can be expected
within 9 weeks of joining. On farm, one bull would
commonly sire 30 - 40 calves per year; however this
can be doubled if there was both an autumn and a
spring calving herd. The productive life of a bull is 3-4
There is only one simple reason for the emphasis
being placed on artificial ways of achieving a
pregnancy – to access elite genetics for the next
generation of profitable beef production.
Pathfinder searches the world for bulls of exceptional
genetic merit to increase the rate of genetic
improvement in the herd. With AI and ET it is possible
to join each female to the best genetically suited bull in
the world, with the aim of maximizing each cows overall
Although some of the bulls Pathfinder breed will have
unique figures and phenotype for use within the herd,
artificial insemination and embryo transplant give the
stud the scope to be able to reach the next level in
genetic improvement. The time and cost involved in
getting a live calf using AI is substantial. In addition to
the direct costs, such as the drugs and semen, there
are management issues associated with AI. However,
the real cost is the overall lower pregnancy rate from
interfering with the cows natural cycle. Pregnancy rates
are inevitably overestimated by semen sellers and the
reality is a large group of empty cows all returning on
heat at once after the AI program.
The backup bulls cannot serve this concentration of
cows in their few days of cycle and results in overall
lower conception rates.
Nick and Harry do all the AI on Pathfinder.
Approximately 50% of cows become pregnant with
each round of fixed time AI or ET. A pregnancy test at
4 weeks gestation identifies animals to be
programmed for a second round of AI or ET. The cows
empty after the program are put to herd sires for
natural mating, or used as recipients in the ET program.
The key to the breeding success of the Pathfinder
program is the research that goes into selecting the
sires. Every year, sires are inspected in the major US,
Australian and New Zealand collection centers. The
sires that fit the criteria for exceptional performance
with good temperament and structure are followed
through, to look at progeny where possible, to help
confirm any decision. Too many bulls are sold without
the research or proven genetics behind them, resulting
in commercial producers missing out on the profitable
potential of their beef herd.
An ET program is only used on the elite females.
Although restrictive because of its expense, it has the
potential to increase the progeny of these cows up to
five times. These cows have proven to be the top
performers from one of Australia’s largest performance
Mike Boerimer, cattle veterinarian, has been working
with Pathfinder for the past 20 years, and with Nick,
has developed a program that has become more
efficient and productive. In 2012, 12 donor cows were
flushed twice for embryos. resulting in 150 lower
performing cows implanted as recipients.
Producing over 1000 bull calves annually allows us to
select 250 of only the very best in our two annual
SA 120 Bulls - 13th February
Vic 100 Bulls - 19th February