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Offline cansteer

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Getting started?
« on: February 05, 2012, 08:32:29 PM »
I was considering buying a heifer this year, but now I am thinking maybe embryo transplant. I have a few questions about it. How much does it cost to get a frozen embryo transplanted into a recip cow? Can embryos be stored in a regular semen tank? What is the process from frozen to inserted into cow? Not too sure about this, but it was just an idea. Any help is greatly appreciated also any thoughts or opinions on this.

Offline firesweepranch

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Re: Getting started?
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2012, 10:28:38 PM »
Cost depends on a lot, but we use our own cows on natural heats so it cost us $75 to put the embryo in. Yes, embryos are stored right next to your semen, in the same tank. Our embryologist comes out, 7 days after the cow was in standing heat, checks her to make sure she has a good CL (corpus lutetium where she ovulated, helps maintain pregnancy, without it no pregnancy), marks on her rump which side the CL is on, gives her litocain to numb her rear so she does not fight putting the embryo in (keeps her from moving her tail and clamping down on him since he is actually going into the uterus and up near the horn) then thaws the embryo and implants it on the same side as the CL. From the casual viewer, it looks like he is just AI'ing the cow. We just use our grooming chute because most of our recips are halter broke.
God, family, and Simmental cattle;  that's what makes life worth living!

Offline outspoken

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Re: Getting started?
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2012, 07:05:54 AM »
buying a live heifer that's made it through the hardest stages of life
or
buying an embryo that may or may not implant; may or may not live through calving, may or may not live through, or wean off in decent shape...


Offline leanbeef

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Re: Getting started?
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2012, 12:57:29 PM »
Cost depends on a lot, but we use our own cows on natural heats so it cost us $75 to put the embryo in. Yes, embryos are stored right next to your semen, in the same tank. Our embryologist comes out, 7 days after the cow was in standing heat, checks her to make sure she has a good CL (corpus lutetium where she ovulated, helps maintain pregnancy, without it no pregnancy), marks on her rump which side the CL is on, gives her litocain to numb her rear so she does not fight putting the embryo in (keeps her from moving her tail and clamping down on him since he is actually going into the uterus and up near the horn) then thaws the embryo and implants it on the same side as the CL. From the casual viewer, it looks like he is just AI'ing the cow. We just use our grooming chute because most of our recips are halter broke.

Honestly, I think this makes the whole process sound WAY too simple and easy to somebody who sounds like he/she may just be getting started. I haven't read your profile, and I don't know how much experience you have in the cattle business...if you're new to it, I would find the best heifer I could afford and get my start that way. ET work assumes a greater amount of risk and an increase in associated costs. If it were super easy and affordable and always worked out like you HOPE it does, everybody would be doing it. Embryos can cost anywhere from $100 to $1000 a piece, and unless you can put in several at a time, it really is a crap shoot. The payoff comes with the numbers and the increased chance at getting a really good one out of however many eggs it takes to get that calf.

Offline firesweepranch

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Re: Getting started?
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2012, 01:12:29 PM »
Lean beef, all I was doing was answering the three questions that were asked by CANsteer. I did not inject my opinion or why he/she should/should not try embryo transfer. For us, it is simple. We use our own cows, have a local guy do the work, and have decent luck.
God, family, and Simmental cattle;  that's what makes life worth living!

Offline outspoken

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Re: Getting started?
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2012, 01:15:26 PM »
I'm not a believer in flushing...  To me, I'd rather take a little longer to build a consistent base of sisters, or a cow family...  than put all my eggs into one basket (literally).

Offline leanbeef

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Re: Getting started?
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2012, 01:26:34 PM »
Lean beef, all I was doing was answering the three questions that were asked by CANsteer. I did not inject my opinion or why he/she should/should not try embryo transfer. For us, it is simple. We use our own cows, have a local guy do the work, and have decent luck.

Yeah, I get that...I didn't think it sounded like you were weighing in either way. I just thought the post made ET sound a lot easier and luckier than it is for most people who aren't really set up to do it or who may not have much experience in the cattle business. That's all I was saying...

Offline cansteer

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Re: Getting started?
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2012, 01:43:55 PM »
thanks to you three for responding. i know it is alot of work to do ET, and it was only an idea i thought about. i thought that maybe it would be better than getting a heifer because i would already be at the genetic stage that others had already built up to, if you understand what i'm saying.

Offline leanbeef

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Re: Getting started?
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2012, 02:03:33 PM »
thanks to you three for responding. i know it is alot of work to do ET, and it was only an idea i thought about. i thought that maybe it would be better than getting a heifer because i would already be at the genetic stage that others had already built up to, if you understand what i'm saying.

I think it's a great idea IN THEORY... The problem is that it doesn't always work out like we expect or want or hope it will. Unless you're really familiar with the genetics and they're proven, meaning you've seen a bunch of calves out of a particular donor or mating, ET calves aren't always what we hope they'll be either. Like I said before, the great thing about ET is that we can multiply the number of progeny out of a great cow or we can make a group of one mating which will likely produce at least one higher quality individual than we'll get if we just have one calf from that mating. The drawbacks are the risk involved, the extra costs and the extra labor and management needed. Which adds up to be a lot of drawbacks for somebody who's trying to get "started" in the cattle business. My recommendation would be to invest your money and your time in a young female from a reputable breeding program and try to AI breed her to produce your next generation. AI is a good prerequisite course for ET work, and you'll figure out along the way if and when and how you want to pursue any embryo work.

Offline Sheep

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Re: Getting started?
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2012, 02:20:34 PM »
When you buy a pack of three embryos MOST people will guaruntee 1 in those three to stick if done by a certified ET person.  That being said, if one in three sticks, and lets say you paid $600-$1000 for ONE of the more lucrative or sought after eggs, you multiply that by three and you're already in 2 to 3 THOUSAND dollars.  This doesn't include recips, the feed that the recips consume, (Usually not much though) pasture land, and all other variables.  I don't know your situation; whether you have recips or if you plan to buy them or raise some feeder heifers to become recips or you are placing the eggs in someone else's recips.  Considering cattle prices are in upwards of $2/pound for feeder heifers, recips are by no means cheep, and round here people pay about $1300 and up for every live, weaned calf they recieve.  With all this being said, I highly suggest buying a heifer with the budget that you have.  For a pacckage of three embryos, plus recips and all other costs you're at the minimum of $5,000 ($2,000 for package of embryos, $800/recip, plus all feed and housing).  Take your money that you could spend on a decent trio of eggs and buy yourself a nice heifer.

Heck, the sellers could guarnuntee 1 STUCK embryo, but like BS said, what about the birthin and weaning stress?  What happens when a calf doesn't wean right or look like it should?  When you buy a heifer, in front of you you have the best and strongest animals; the ones that have made it through the breeding, birthing, and weaning process.

Ultimatly it's your choice, but if I were you I'd go with a heifer.  Plus, you get the animal now, not in two years.  It may be a boring and quite two years if you're going on a two year drought of not showing.
Don't think you know it all; be open to let others teach you.

Offline firesweepranch

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Re: Getting started?
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2012, 02:36:02 PM »
Another point not made is sex. Unless you buy sexed embryos,  which cost a lot more, you might end up with a bull. Of the three embryos we have coming in the next 45 days, two are sexed as bulls. No good for us, but the gamble we take playing the embryo game. We have bought 4 different lots of embryos, and of two lots ( 3 eggs each) we only got two pregnancies .  Not very good odds, but for us worth the chance since the embryos were genetics we wanted (one from each set).
God, family, and Simmental cattle;  that's what makes life worth living!

 

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