Artificial insemination of animals is scheduled to begin this month under the National Livestock Genetic Improvement and Breeding Technology Programme.
Launched in November of last year by the Jamaica Dairy Development Board (JDDB), the programme is aimed at expanding production in the livestock industry through the provision of high-quality stock and reducing Jamaica’s importation of beef and milk.
Chief Executive Officer at the JDDB, Devon Sayers, told JIS News that the board is sourcing high-quality beef semen from local farmers and has started importing dairy cattle semen and embryos.
“In terms of the dairy aspect, after the first three years of the programme, the offspring should be producing 15 litres of milk per day, which is our aim. Our current production is six to seven litres per day with our current gene pool. We are looking to get a 100 per cent improvement based on the profile of the type of genetic material that we are bringing in,” he indicated.
More than 700 straws of beef cattle semen from Brahman, Brangus and Angus breeds will be used for local breeds, while 1,500 straws from the Brown Swiss, Jersey and Holstein cattle will be used for dairy cattle.
Mr. Sayers said that sensitisation of farmers about the initiative is ongoing.
“What we’ve been doing with our in-house team and the contracted body, which is Nutramix, is to go out and assess farms, speak with farmers and sensitise them about the programme and how they can access the genetic material.
“We are going around, meeting with them, taking their requests and we are about to start inseminating animals after we finish the assessment and documentation processes,” he told JIS News.
The National Livestock Genetic Improvement and Breeding Technology Programme aligns with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries’ drive to expand production in the livestock sector.