REALITIES OF SHEEP ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION ON FARM LEVEL: FARM AND BREED DIFFERENCES
Kukovics Sándor, Németh Tímea, Gyökér Erzsébet, Gergátz Elemér
Since the mid 1970's the artificial centres for sheep were ceased in Hungary the artificial insemination (AI) of ewes has been gradually reduced. In mid sixties more than 63% of the total number of ewes was inseminated (in some part of the country this number was above the 85%) and nowadays it is only 2-3%. In order to examine the present practice and effectiveness of the AI a survey was conducted between 2003 and 2010 covering the dominant part of the sheep farms using these techniques. The inseminated ewes were belonging to various breeds: purebred and crossbred Awassi and British Milksheep, Bábolna Tetra, Charollaise, German Mutton Merino, German Blackhead Mutton Sheep, Ile de France, Hungarian Merino, Lacaune, and Suffolk. The number of ewes, details of the techniques used and the results were evaluated concerning eleven sheep farms inseminating more than ten thousands ewes in the first and about 3 500 heads in the last year. Every detail of the AI techniques from the selection of ewes up to the weaning rate of the lambs born from AI was evaluated. Descriptive statistics and chi-square test of SPSS for Windows 10.0 was applied for processing of data. The main conclusions of the study were as follows: well skilled shepherds could apply the AI with very good results on farm level using dominantly fresh semen collected locally; the conception rate (75-95%) was affected by breed, year, and the farm. The cost of AI varied from € 0.35 to € 8.5 (in oestrus synchronization).
Key words: sheep, breeds, artificial insemination, effectiveness