January 9, 2008

Contact: Blake Putman, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Clinton County, 518-561-7450 x106
Anita Deming, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Essex County, 518-962-4810
Carl Tillinghast, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Franklin County, 518-483-7403
Brent Buchanan, Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County, 315-379-9192

Hoping for Heifers?
Learn the Latest in Artificial Insemination and Sexed Semen Practices at Dairy Reproduction Workshop in January

Choosing the sex of your baby � your baby cow that is - is a developing option for dairy and beef farmers who prefer heifer calves with good genetics and the potential to be great milkers in their dairy herds and breef brood cows. In January in Clinton, Essex, Franklin and St. Lawrence counties, farmers looking to build their herds internally through an on-farm breeding program, those interested in increasing the number of heifer calves born on their farms, and producers looking to improve their artificial insemination (AI) skills will find what they need at the 2008 Dairy Reproduction Management Workshop.

The workshop will also provide a hands-on learning experience for using the tools of AI on an actual cow reproductive tract.

Cornell Cooperative Extension is offering workshops featuring speakers from Genex Cooperative, Inc., Select Sires and local veterinary clinics and the hands-on AI practice opportunity in
� Clinton County on January 22nd � 10:45 am to 2:45 pm
� Essex County on January 22nd � 6:30-8:30 pm with speakers from Genex and Adirondack Veterinary Hospital
� Franklin County on January 23rd �10:45 am to 2:45 pm, and in
� St. Lawrence County January 24th �10:45 am to 2:45 pm.

Pre-registration with your county Extension office is required by January 18, 2008.

Jennifer Hunter with Genex Cooperative, Inc. will discuss and demonstrate proper artificial insemination practices and best use practices for using sexed semen based on recent research.

Sexed semen is semen that has had female sperm cells isolated from specifically chosen sires to help producers increase the number of heifer (female) calves born on their farms. Genex offers sexed semen for both dairy and beef cows.

Hunter says, �This workshop is good both as a refresher for those already practicing AI and those interested in starting to breed their own cattle or use sexed semen. We will be talking about the various factors that go into both the proper insemination practices and the use of the sexed semen to assure successful results for your herd.�

Artificially inseminating cows is a process that requires skillful attention to details - from proper semen handling and thawing to placement of insemination straws in the cows� reproductive tracts. Those attending the workshop will have the opportunity to practice placing an insemination straw in a life-size dairy cow�s reproductive tract. Dye in the straw that would normally contain semen will show the path semen travels through the tract.

Kevin Ziemba is the Northeast Regional Marketing Manager with Select Sires, Inc., a federation of farmer-owned cooperatives that sells semen, including sexed semen, and such reproduction aids as heat detectors, nutritional supplements and udder treatments. Ziemba will talk at the workshops about how sexed semen is made, the challenges and opportunities of using the sexed semen and where the future of the product is.

Ziemba says, �Bull semen normally contains fifty percent XX sperm that produce heifer calves and fifty percent XY sperm that produce bull calves. I will talk about sexed semen is prepared with a higher rate of XX sperm and will share the results of our trials comparing conception rates using sexed semen versus the unsorted semen.�

A local veterinarian at each workshop will discuss protocols for synchronizing insemination with a cow�s heat cycle. Most cows have a narrow timeframe during which insemination is most likely to result in a pregnancy, and impregnating a cow on the first AI attempt increases reproduction program efficiency and reduces a farm�s costs.

Workshop organizer and Dairy and Livestock Educator Blake Putman with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Clinton County says, �This program will benefit herd managers and farm employees who want to increase reproductive performance in their herds by improving their skills for heat detection. If you have your own on-farm breeding program or have experienced emergency situations in which you are forced to handle breeding responsibilities under pressure, understanding when to breed a cow and the proper artificial insemination technique are crucial in reaching a successful pregnancy."

Pre-registration for the Dairy Reproduction workshop is required by January 18, 2008. Contact your local Cornell Cooperative Extension office. The program, made possible by Cornell Cooperative Extension with support from the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program, is expected to be offered in other NNY counties later in the year. # # #