By David Burton
Beef farmers who practice artificial insemination will find that a portable breeding barn makes life a lot easier on both man and beast.
"This is especially true if fixed-time AI is practiced and inclement weather hits the day the cows or heifers must be inseminated," said Eldon Cole, livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
A portable breeding barn can simply be backed to a lead up alley gate. When the back door opens the animals to be worked can hardly wait to go into the nice, dark confines of the unit.
"There are no head gates inside to cause them to struggle, just a bar that drops behind them that allows the inseminator to safely do the breeding or pregnancy check," said Cole.
Research has shown that one secret to higher conception rates is to reduce stress on the female before, during and after insemination. The breeding barn does that.
"Since the barn is a new adventure for the animal and they've not experienced any discomfort in the past, they remain calm in the barn," said Cole. "The technicians appreciate the comfort of having all their necessary AI items under roof and out of the wind. When pregnancy checking with ultrasound, its dark enough to easily see the screen."
The breeding barn is available in one or two-stall designs. If a large numbers of cows are to be processed and two inseminators used, the two-stall barn allows both to work comfortably.
MU Extension does have several breeding barns in different parts of the state for use by the public. In southwest Missouri, the barn is located at Mt. Vernon and producers wanting to use it must reserve it by calling the Lawrence County Extension Center at (417) 466-3102.
Producers using the barn are responsible for picking it up and returning it promptly along with paying a $50 per day use fee.
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