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Revolutionizing Dairy Farming: Assisted Reproduction Technologies
Posted On: 08/09/2023

In the world of dairy farming, technological advancements have made it possible to revolutionize the way we breed and multiply superior dairy animals. Among the array of innovative approaches, Assisted Reproduction Technologies (ART) play a pivotal role in enhancing the reproductive capabilities of dairy cows and buffaloes. In this blog post, we'll delve into some of these groundbreaking techniques that are changing the face of dairy farming.

1. Embryo Transfer: Unlocking the Potential of Elite Dairy Animals
Multiple Ovulation and Embryo Transfer (MOET) Technology, also known as Embryo Transfer, is a game-changer in the world of dairy farming. Traditionally, a superior female dairy animal would yield one calf per year. However, with the application of MOET technology, this number skyrockets to an astonishing 10-20 calves annually from a single cow or buffalo.

The process involves administering hormones with FSH-like activity to elite cows or buffaloes to induce super-ovulation. Under the influence of these hormones, these females produce multiple eggs instead of the usual single egg. The super-ovulated female is then inseminated 2-3 times at 12-hour intervals during estrus. On the seventh day post-insemination, the uterus is flushed with a specialized medium to retrieve developing embryos.

These embryos are collected along with the flushing medium through a specialized filter. They are then assessed for quality under a microscope. High-quality embryos can either be frozen and preserved for future use or transferred fresh into recipient animals approximately seven days after the heat cycle. This remarkable technology allows us to produce numerous calves from elite dairy animals within a single year.

2. In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Technology: Accelerating Reproduction Rates
In-Vitro Fertilization, also referred to as Ovum Pick-up and In Vitro Embryo Production (OPU-IVEP) Technology, takes the concept of reproduction to a whole new level. While MOET technology can yield 10-20 calves per year, OPU-IVEP technology can yield an astounding 20-40 calves annually from a single cow or buffalo.

The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) has set up a state-of-the-art OPU-IVEP facility in Anand, India, for research and training purposes. The goal is to make this technology accessible and affordable to Indian dairy farmers. Collaborating with EMBRAPA Dairy Cattle in Brazil, NDDB has acquired the expertise needed to exploit this technology fully.

Using OPU-IVEP technology, embryos are produced under controlled laboratory conditions rather than within a uterus. This involves aspirating oocytes from ovarian follicles non-surgically through an ultrasound-guided aspiration device. These oocytes are then processed and incubated in specialized conditions for fertilization and subsequent embryo culture. This cutting-edge technology is capable of dramatically increasing the rate at which superior dairy germplasm is multiplied.

3. Sexed Semen Technology: Shaping the Future of Dairy Farming
Sexed semen technology offers the ability to selectively produce progenies of desired sex, whether female or male, with an impressive accuracy rate of 80-90 percent. This technology has the potential to mitigate the issue of unwanted stray male animals on dairy farms.

When combined with IVF technology, sexed semen takes on a whole new dimension. Oocytes from multiple donors can be fertilized using single sexed semen doses, optimizing the use of this innovative technology in dairy farming.

4. Training on OPU-IVEP Technology: Building a Skilled Workforce
To make the benefits of OPU-IVEP technology accessible to a broader audience, the Indian government, under the Rashtriya Gokul Mission (RGM), is providing financial support for the establishment of around 30 OPU-IVEP facilities across the country.

NDDB conducts training programs on OPU-IVEP technology for veterinarians nominated by various organizations involved in genetic improvement of dairy animals. These programs focus on skill development and include theory and practical sessions. Trainees receive guidance and support from experienced trainers to ensure the successful establishment of laboratories and the standardization of protocols.

In conclusion, Assisted Reproduction Technologies are reshaping the landscape of dairy farming. These groundbreaking techniques, from embryo transfer to IVF and sexed semen technology, are increasing reproductive rates and improving the genetic quality of dairy herds. As technology continues to advance, we can expect even more exciting developments in the world of dairy farming.

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