The Folly of Embryo Transfers

Agrivator

Member
An article in the Scottish Farmer, by a well-respected beef and sheep pedigree breeder, suggests that embryo transfers might be doing a great disservice to the industry.

Many of the breeds flushed, have distocia problems, and their embryos are placed in recipients of breeds with far fewer problems. In fact, some individuals which are flushed would rather not be put in calf or lamb, because they are too valuable to lose during birth or expensive caesarean operations.

A prime example in sheep is where Texel embryos are transferred to older easier lambing breeds like the Mule or Suffolk crosses. Would you want to buy a tup lamb bred by that method, and should pedigree sales provide details of how such a tup or bull has been produced?
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
There's no problem with the process of Embryo Transfer, just some of the selection decisions made for donor ewes. Someone was telling me a year or so ago, when I enquired about a ewe that I had been underbidder on, that her pelvis was so small they couldn't get a lamb out and had to have a CS. As they couldn't lamb her, they had proceeded to flush her instead. :banghead:

I flush a few ewes every year, and have done for most of the last 2 decades. It's a useful tool to expand superior female lines but, like performance recording, it's just a tool. Tools can be used badly.

The two pedigree breeds that I've been involved with, Charollais and Beltex, certainly have the fact that they are ET bred on their pedigree certificates. I assumed they all did?
 
From those who I speak to in the business say theevels of this happening in the Lim and BB Breeds are getting out of hand.
But I guess if they are targeting mainly extreme terminal types the calving ability well decrease.
Like the beltex
 

Werzle

Member
Location
Midlands
I have thought the same lately about pedigree cattle breeders and all the cesareans, to my mind its becoming a welfare issue . Why an earth do we want all these cattle bred that have to come out of the side door. It will be as bad as the bulldog type breeds that cannot give birth naturally anymore
 

shearerlad

Member
Livestock Farmer
I do agree with you, but with regards limmys thst were where mentioned, at society sales the catalogue says for each animal if it’s been natural or artificial conception and also natural or ET gestation
Then it’s up to the buyers to make their own decisions
 

gatepost

Member
Location
Cotswolds
As a tool to increase a good females blood within a flock/herd great, but lets be clear that is not what it is being used for now necessarily, it is used to produce offspring with enhanced breed points and it enables the recipient to be fed in such a way that it will milk like hell and carry a large lamb/calf, therefore getting the extra size on going for sales, so be it if that floats your boat, but I think we are seeing those bloodlines now becoming dominant and some weak maternal lines are being multiplied up by default, I for one will not buy an embryo if I can, at all help it, and have specifically looked for the offspring of old ewes, and the results are starting to come through, but is anyone really interested, I am yet to see it.
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
I've always wondered if E.T is responsible for the prevalence of mastitis in the texel/mule. How many" great" texel ewes that have taken mastitis in their first breeding season have been flushed for years afterwards?
ET can be used to multiply poor traits, just the same as it can good ones. The procedure isn’t the problem, the selection of donors is.

It’s just a tool, that’s all.
 

gatepost

Member
Location
Cotswolds
I've always wondered if E.T is responsible for the prevalence of mastitis in the texel/mule. How many" great" texel ewes that have taken mastitis in their first breeding season have been flushed for years afterwards?
Oh I think ''great ewes'' never get to rear a lamb, and if you question it, the answer usually is, well it's the way its done now.
 

gwi1890

Member
Location
North wales
I've always wondered if E.T is responsible for the prevalence of mastitis in the texel/mule. How many" great" texel ewes that have taken mastitis in their first breeding season have been flushed for years afterwards?
It probably is, I know a breeder who uses E.T on older ewes only ewes who have performed well throughout their lives and reared high litters and have good udders its they way it should be done, but many flush ewes lambs then sell as yearlings! As long as fools are willing to part with money which they always will it’s going to continue unfortunately
 

Bob the beef

Member
Location
Scot Borders
I sometimes get asked to steward the texel classes at a fairly big show. The ewe class every year causes a real stoosie. In the show rules it states that the ewe must have reared a lamb in that season. ( the show is early July). Last few years there have been over 20 ewes entered in the class and no more than 5/6 have clearly reared a lamb. As steward I was originally told that we had to dismiss the ewes that had not reared anything. Cue major strop from many very well known breeders, who threatened to boycott the show in future. Now any ewe can take part in the class and everyone turns a blind eye to the fact.

It’s no wonder the texel breed is having such problems with mastitis and difficult lambings
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
It probably is, I know a breeder who uses E.T on older ewes only ewes who have performed well throughout their lives and reared high litters and have good udders its they way it should be done, but many flush ewes lambs then sell as yearlings! As long as fools are willing to part with money which they always will it’s going to continue unfortunately
Wasn’t the 350k Texel lamb back in the summer the result of a ewe lamb flush?:scratchhead:

I generally only flush proven ewes, but occasionally younger ones from those same bloodlines too.
I confess that I do have a ewe lamb being flushed at the moment though, the result of flushing one of those proven ewes last year (by a homebred ram), the highest index Charollais to date and everything I could wish for in a Charollais. A great believer in Sod’s law, I’m flushing her as insurance, as I’m sure she’ll keel over without leaving me lambs otherwise.:(
 

MDL POWERUP

Member
Wasn’t the 350k Texel lamb back in the summer the result of a ewe lamb flush?:scratchhead:

I generally only flush proven ewes, but occasionally younger ones from those same bloodlines too.
I confess that I do have a ewe lamb being flushed at the moment though, the result of flushing one of those proven ewes last year (by a homebred ram), the highest index Charollais to date and everything I could wish for in a Charollais. A great believer in Sod’s law, I’m flushing her as insurance, as I’m sure she’ll keel over without leaving me lambs otherwise.:(
If she keels over without leaving a lamb is she worth breeding from? :whistle:
 

gwi1890

Member
Location
North wales
Wasn’t the 350k Texel lamb back in the summer the result of a ewe lamb flush?:scratchhead:

I generally only flush proven ewes, but occasionally younger ones from those same bloodlines too.
I confess that I do have a ewe lamb being flushed at the moment though, the result of flushing one of those proven ewes last year (by a homebred ram), the highest index Charollais to date and everything I could wish for in a Charollais. A great believer in Sod’s law, I’m flushing her as insurance, as I’m sure she’ll keel over without leaving me lambs otherwise.:(
yes he was out of a ewe lamb, and he was also in the top 1% this it not a knock on the lamb by any means but Im unsure how the recording can be accurate/fair across the breed, for 8 week weight, scan weight, ease of lambing and litters reared/size? muscle depth and fat CT scanning is fair game though
Should ET lambs figures be penalised in some way ?
 

egbert

Member
Wow. just wow.
About as far away from my way of farming as it could be.
I'm fine with Neil Os rationale*.
Even fine if it means getting more tup lambs from a particular line for sale.
But that a breeder would multiply up something with functionality issues.....?

I can only shake my head in disbelief.
What kind of muppets would buy from men who'd do such? How do the sellers keep their secrets?
It's pressing the self destruct button.

If a ewe needs foot doctoring she gets a 'never keep a tup from this'un' mark in her ear.
C section? Jeez Louise...she's outa here.


*I only dropped in to look cos I was talking to a pal whose looking at ET on her coos.
Having had a catastrophic neospora outbreak, she's got to cull almost everything.
but apparently ET is fine, and breaks the cycle, so that's what she's looking at...flushing 1-2 favourite cows....which makes sense to me.
 

AHDB winding down horticulture and potatoes operations as Ministerial decision awaited

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AHDB has announced yesterday it is winding down significant activities on behalf of the horticulture and potatoes sectors.

While still awaiting a decision on the future by Ministers in England, Scotland and Wales, AHDB wants to reassure levy payers their views have been heard following recent ballots in the two sectors.

AHDB is now stopping programmes of work that could be restarted in the future by grower associations, individual growers or the supply chain. This work includes for example, export market access and promotional international trade event work, consumer marketing campaigns and market pricing and insight information. AHDB will continue to deliver limited emergency work on pests and diseases, including the Extension of Authorisation for Minor Use (EAMU)’s and some...
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