Whichever method of delivery is chosen, the semen still needs to be delivered into a suitable receptacle. This can be directly into a specialist cool cabinet (operating at 17°C) or an insulated box. For bio-security these should be positioned at the edge of the unit and delivery times recorded by the courier. All cool cabinets should be located out of the sun. Semen delivered into insulated boxes should be removed by farm staff before any significant lift in internal temperature starts to occur. Staff should record product type, number and use-by date so that accurate stock rotation can be carried out.
SEMEN STORAGE ON FARM
Semen should always be stored in a cool cabinet with a target temperature of 17°C. To operate efficiently, cabinets should not be solidly packed as air needs to circulate around the cooling/warming plates and throughout the cabinet.
This cabinet should always be kept clean, as any dirt, bacteria, moulds, etc will contaminate sachets and end up on service operatives' hands.
Semen must be turned or gently agitated at least twice daily to re-suspend the semen in the diluent medium. Records of stock identities, numbers, delivery date/time and use-by date should be kept so that stock rotation can be carried out. This ensures that oldest semen can be used first and expired semen can be thrown away and not used. Such records help to reduce product wastage, improve product quality and highlight shortage of stock, allowing time for the problem to be rectified.
These areas are often neglected but are critical in ensuring optimum product quality at point of insemination. To this end, Appendix 3 gives sample coo! cabinet daily check sheets to ensure optimum storage conditions are maintained. In addition to the integrated thermometer attached to the temperature-controlled cabinet, a quality, calibrated thermometer should be used to monitor temperature.
SEMEN HANDLING ON FARM
At some point semen will need to be removed from the cool cabinet to the insemination area. This can be anything from a few feet from the cool cabinet to several hundred metres. Because of this, consideration needs to be given to handling. Transportation should ideally be in a temperature-controlled cool box which is secure and hygienic. If it is to be moved in an insulated box without temperature control then the changes in semen temperature need to be monitored. This can be carried out for customers by PIC UK.
Any sachets which are returned from the service area to the cool cabinet need to be logged, monitored and used more rapidly, provided that quality has not been compromised. If you are unsure of the quality implications of doing this, it needs checking. For this reason, and because the process is potentially problematic in itself, PIC UK does not recommend semen warming prior to insemination.
Remember semen quality is compromised by:
Temperature shock - heat/cold
Exposure to light.
In the insemination area key considerations need to be given to handling semen. These are:
Ensure sufficient space to lay out equipment - catheters/
gel/cool box and record insemination data
Keep catheters and equipment free from dust and dirt
Ensure the stock cannot get access to catheters, semen etc.
Ensure good lighting (400 lux - bright enough to read a