Last month we discussed the importance of tracking measures of reproductive efficiency, as promised this month we review some of the reported literature on reproductive success in various commercial programs. This is not intended as an exhaustive review of all the available literature on the subject. Rather, we have used specific references to illustrate various concepts related to reports of equine fertility.
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Measuring Reproductive Efficiency
Keeping good breeding records is one of the cornerstone principles of sound reproductive management. For many of you the breeding season is now coming to a close, whether you are a stallion owner reviewing the conception rates for the mares that were bred to your stallion, or a breeder reviewing the reproductive performance of your mare herd, now is a great time to start compiling the data. Best to do it now whilst your experiences are still fresh in your mind and you can readily lay your hands on the paperwork. Plus as a stallion owner it may take some time to get the feedback you need from your mare owners. In this blog article we discuss the importance of keeping detailed accurate breeding records and what parameters you should calculate and follow.
Not All Frozen Semen is Created Equally
Following up on our Blog article of last month Should the US Adopt Stricter Controls on Cooled and Frozen Semen Production Facilities, we thought it might be interesting to present some data to demonstrate the variability in the quality of frozen semen being imported into the US. For the purposes of this blog article we combined the data from client samples submitted for post-thaw analysis in the last 1-3 yrs. A post-thaw analysis is one of the services we offer to our clients importing frozen semen; we evaluate post-thaw motility by computer assisted sperm analysis (CASA), sperm concentration using the Nucleocounter and we perform a bacterial culture of the semen to check for mare pathogens.
Frozen Semen - Sell by the Dose or as a Breeding?
For some breeds of horses, the most popular choice for marketing frozen semen is to sell by the dose. The mare owner pays in advance for each dose of semen and typically there is no live foal guarantee.This is often the case for imported frozen semen from Warmblood sport horse stallions standing in Europe. However, other breeds use their frozen semen as part of a breeding contract with a life foal guarantee. Much of the Standardbred and Quarter Horse semen we export to Europe and Australia is sold in this manner. At Select Breeders we feel the risk associated with breeding horses, by any means, should be shared by both the stallion and mare owner. Therefore our recommendation has always been to sell frozen semen with a guaranteed contract. We review the pros and cons of both options below and welcome your comments and discussion.
The Hidden Value of Frozen Semen
You know the value of your stallion…X amount of dollars, your broodmares…X amount of dollars, and your stallion’s offspring…X amount of dollars. But if asked the value of your stallion’s frozen semen you may answer “I don’t know” or “Priceless.” Why do you need to know the value of your stallion’s frozen semen? Unfortunately, stallions pass away, partnerships dissolve due to sales or divorce, bankruptcies are filed, semen is exported, etc. and in these cases you need to be prepared to handle your frozen semen as an asset. The value of frozen semen can be determined either by the cost of production or the number of breedings that potentially could be sold.
Three Ways Stallion Owners Can Prevent Unapproved Use of Frozen Semen
As breeding season is coming to a close, many of you may be wondering what you should do about unused doses of frozen semen that remain in the possession of your mare owners and what you should do with returned semen. Stallion owners often express concern that if frozen semen is sold as part of a breeding contract, unused doses of semen remaining after the original mare becomes pregnant may be sold to a 3rd party or used to inseminate another mare without payment of any additional stud fees. But, if frozen semen is returned, how can you know if the semen quality has been compromised and what should you do with it? Here we offer some advice on how to minimize the amount of unused frozen semen that is outstanding at the end of the breeding season and how to handle the fate of this frozen semen in your breeding contracts and if it gets returned.
Stallion Owner Instructions for the Stallion Guide
Stallion Owners - welcome to the new SBS website! Below you will find instructions for how to update your stallion's profile on the new Stallion Guide.