As cattle raisers, our goals are pretty clear — maximize value, generate profit, and gain genetic lead time. Especially in the growth stage of building a cattle business, embryo transfer technology is a vital component to our operation. And we aren’t the only ones jumping on the bandwagon.
For many years, conventional embryo transfer has provided ranchers the ability to generate elite genetics at a more progressive rate than ever before. More recently, though, the technology has extended into in vitro fertilization, or IVF. In the spirit of a new year with new ideas, I visited with two experts on this cutting-edge technology.
George Perry, Texas A&M University associate research professor of beef cattle reproductive physiology, and Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association member Brad Jones, longtime reproductive specialist and owner of Jones Ranch, have been in the business long enough to recognize how revolutionary this technology has been and will continue to be for the cattle industry.
“Just like with artificial insemination, where a single sire can now become the sire of more than we could ever expect him to breed naturally, embryo transfer allows us to do the same thing on the female side,” Perry says.
With this new technology comes herd management and business model changes. According to Jones, after a donor is identified, selecting high-quality recipient cows is a crucial part to a productive embryo transfer program. Fortunately, there are several ways to acquire cattle of this caliber to ensure success.
There are a variety of business scenarios from a cattle raiser owning both the donor and recipients to owning one or the other to owning neither. Perry even mentions companies or individuals who will sell pregnant recipient cows.
Employing embryo transfer into an operation may not be for everyone, but it has benefited everyone.
“Hands down,” Jones adds, “it’s revolutionized the seedstock industry.”
Read more about this technology in January issue of The Cattleman.
Kayla Jennings is the proofreader for and a regular contributor to The Cattleman magazine.