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Day in the life of a Dairy Cow Inseminator: Israel Dairy Co-op

Saturday, January 16, 2010
Israel is known to be one of the most successful milk producing nations in the world with exemplary milk production per cow. There are over 500 dairy farms in Israel that belong to a national dairy co-op known as the Cattle Confederation. The Cattle Confederation maintains a centralized herd book that tracks and reports the genetics and health and milk production/quality for over 100,000 dairy cattle. Under the umbrella of the Cattle Confederation is the Haklaite, an organization of veterinarians providing health related services to the cattle industry and SION AI Stud which produces the AI straws used to inseminate the dairy cattle (with the assistance of the SQA-Vb and B-Sperm™ dosing software). A-TECH was invited to follow “Dr. Alex” of Sion AI Stud on his insemination rounds in December 2009. Of interest to A-Tech was the process of tracking the cow, determining whether she was “in-heat,” selecting AI samples and observing how the AI straws are handled in field conditions. A-Tech wanted to observe the full cycle of milk production in Israel at a cross-section of farms with as few as 200 cows and as many as 1200. “Dr. Alex” has been working for the dairy co-op (SION AI stud) for over 30 years. On his day with A-Tech he visited 14 farms.

Here are some pictures and description of the process:

A graph is viewed to determine if a cow is ready for insemination. A software program used by the co-op takes pedometer data and looks for increased activity as one indication that the cow in in-heat. The graph spikes can be viewed in this picture:

A record card and label are kept on file for every dairy cow. The card contains her statistics and genetic history. A bar-coded label is affixed to the form for easy identification and tracking:

A hand held PDA scans the bar-code label on the cow record card and the cow data is automatically transferred into the device:

“Dr. Alex” then enters relevant AI data by hand. The data base is checked electronically and a warning is displayed if the cow/bull are related and the insemination is not allowed:

A genetic chart of participating AI bulls and their genetic characteristics is reviewed in order to select the best AI straw for the cow. Milk production, leg strength, etc. are considered:

A small liquid nitrogen tank contains AI straws prepared at SION AI STUD using the SQA-Vb and B-Sperm dosing software. Straws are thawed and loaded into the insemination gun to prepare for the insemination procedure:

The insemination is performed by “Dr. Alex” on Bessie:

Cows taking a meal before insemination:

Almost ready for the milking parlor:

The QwikCheck™ Gold BULL Sperm Quality Analyzer goes to BSE beta testing

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The QwikCheck™ Gold Bull has just hit the market after being used for BSE exams in the field. The beta testing was done “in field conditions” to determine how the QwikCheck™ would perform from the back of a truck or on a portable table at the bull collection pens. “Dr. Moti (DVM)” was engaged by A-TECH to test the system during his bi-annual bull soundness examination rounds. He used the system, label printer and testing capillaries after very little training and successfully performed his rounds over a couple of weeks in October-November, 2009.

Trailing water, you could mistake them for ducklings:

System in action, waiting for the next sample:

System, printer, supplies and mil-spec travel case - the complete package:

A fine animal taking in the morning sun:

Sion & A-Tech Global Dairy Cattle Progressive Motility Field Trial

Tuesday, November 17, 2009
In 2008 A-Tech Global and Sion Israel began a long term study to establish a correlation between dosing semen by progressive motility and pregnancy rates in dairy cattle. The trial was conducted in field conditions at more than 500 dairy farms with over 6,000 cows participating making it the most comprehensive fertility study ever conducted in Israel.  For dose preparation and quality control Sion Israel used a new technology: The SQA-Vb (Bull) Automated Semen Analyzer.  The SQA-Vb can accurately dose samples based on Progressive Motile Sperm in 45 seconds, perform post thaw quality control, and much more.  The system was quickly integrated into Sion's semen processing operation and was the technology of choice for this fertility trial.  With the much anticipated phase 3 results set to shake up the industry, A-Tech Global wanted to acknowledge the excellent work of Sion and provide our customers with some more information about their organization.

Sion A.I. was founded in 2001 through a merger between the On and Hasherut A.I. cooperatives. Sion currently maintains 240 bulls located in three different sites.  Each year, approximately 350,000 inseminations are performed in Israel, 92.5% with local semen from the Israeli-Holstein breed.  The Israeli dairy cattle population has the highest average milk and milk solids production in the world, even though dairy production is influenced by heat stress for most of the year.  Israeli bulls transmit outstanding genetics for milk yield and components, and excel in fertility, longevity and udder health traits. Sion employs 36 insemination technicians.  Currently, 88% of the dairy herds are involved in the DHI system. Insemination information is recorded by the technicians on hand-held computer terminals. This system allows for error-free data transfer to the central Israel Cows Breeders Association – ICBA computer.  Semen collection starts when bulls are 14 months old. Genetic evaluations are computed biannually, and the status of the bulls and cows are reevaluated after each new genetic evaluation.  For more information, please visit Sion's Website:

Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure:

A-Tech CEO Marcia Deutsch and US Director (and blog author) Eric Carver making a new friend at Sion:

"The Team" at lunch time:

A beautiful shot of Sion's facility from across the field:

Two mechanics "checking the oil":

A heart-felt endorsement letter from Director of Science and Production Yoel Zeron:

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