Artificial insemination technicians (AI techs) are responsible for the assistance of breeding cows and heifers using the best and current practices for artificial breeding.
- Monitor heat or estrus cycles of females to create optimal time to inseminate.
- Utilize and use necessary equipment to inseminate livestock in effort of impregnating animals.
- Perform insemination with speed and accuracy to ensure animal has best chance of conception from a single service.
- Cleaning and maintenance of artificial insemination equipment.
- Record each insemination performed on what cow or heifer, the date, and what straw from which bull was used.
- Provide information and advice on sire selection and reproductive techniques to producers.
- Work with large animal veterinarians and producers to ensure breeding process runs smoothly and stress to animals is minimal.
Skills and Qualifications:
- Understanding of properties and danger surrounding the handling of liquid nitrogen.
- At least one year of experience working with livestock in assessing behaviour during the handling process.
- Excellent knowledge of bovine reproductive anatomy and physiology and behaviour.
- Be familiarized with various beef sire lines and pedigrees including EPDs to help clients in discussion of breeding options.
- Excellent oral and written communication skills required.
- Good knowledge of computer programs (MS Excel or similar database programs).
AI technicians primarily work outdoors or in barns, with exposure to different temperatures. Working directly with large animals poses a safety risk, thus current knowledge on safety precautions must be followed to minimize injury to both the technician and the animal.
Education and Training:
Minimum requirement is a High School Diploma, however, a BSc degree in an animal-related field such as animal science is an asset. Certification is required through courses offered by national breeding associations, companies who market frozen semen (such as Genex, Semex or ALTA Genetics), or some agricultural colleges (Lakeland College in Vermillion, AB offers a two-day course). Experience is gained through repetitive work in this field.
Salary and Wages:
Wage ranges from $10.50 to $28.40 per hour, depending on experience and degree.
Annual salary: From $21,000 to $59,340 per annum.