CRV Ambreed managing director, Angus Haslett, said rates have been steady throughout most of 2016 but have now overtaken last year’s total numbers.
He added there was a noticeable rise in demand following milk price hikes in November.
Forced refining of herds
CRV Ambreed contracts, trains and certifies 200 artificial insemination technicians around New Zealand and, overall, has about a quarter of the New Zealand herd-improvement market.
Haslett said good cows have been put forward for artificial insemination this year, and this has helped keep conception rates steady. He said this could, in part, be the result of recent tough seasons.
He said many farmers have been more strategic than normal about culling cows and it is possible this ‘forced refining’ of herds is being reflected in the better cows being put forward for artificial insemination and the consistent conception rates being seen.
Value of genetics
New Zealand’s wet start to spring, with lower sunshine hours, likely impacted on lower submission rates at the start of the artificial insemination season in the North Island, but this changed in mid-October when the weather improved.
And November’s increase in milk prices had an immediate impact on demand, with many customers upgrading or increasing their orders, Haslett said.
He said farmers realize maintaining artificial insemination is valuable even in tough times because there is an immediate loss of genetic return if it’s dropped.
“Genetics is a highly valuable, long-term activity that is playing an increasingly important role in managing our environment and our herds. It’s about farming smarter and farming for an ever-changing and challenging future,” Haslett said.