Storage and Shipping Suggestions

By: Gail Veley
Originally appeared in the September 2019 Issue of the Upper Midwest Cervid Newsletter

WeII-known reproduction specialist Dr. Raymond Favero has been the driving force behind the reproductive success rate at multiple deer, elk and cattle farms in the decades of his life he has devoted to doing so. In fact, because of his knowledge and expertise his services have been sought out in places such as Canada. Korea, China, New Zealand as well as numerous farms throughout the U.S. He knows first-hand the immense investments livestock farmers put into perpetuating quality genetics and successful breeding programs. Therefore, Dr. Favero of Whitetail Genetics in Braidwood, Illinois, offers a little advice to all livestock farmers, in an effort to help with the upcoming artificial insemination season.

Storage and Shipping Suggestions A Checklist

  1. Storing semen at a custom facility, versus your home, office or garage is often a better option. Employees at custom storage facilities are working around the tanks every day and may spot potential problems before you could. These facilities are very well equipped to ship semen and are approved and cleared for shipping with UPS or Fedex.
  2. For safety purposes use two different custom storage facilities, so as to not have all of your eggs in one basket. Or, request that the custom storage facilities store the collections in two separate tanks. If something goes awry at one facility or tank, your semen straws are still more-than-likely safe at the other location.
  3. If you can afford insurance for your storage tanks, acquire it, although most livestock farmers opt not to.
  4. Make arrangements early, as it is a busy time of year for the storage facilities. Have a tank ready to store the semen after it is shipped to you. Do not try to store semen in a shipper tank for more than a couple of days. Use proper handling procedures when moving semen from the shipper tank to the storage tank.
  5. Return the shipping tank promptly, the storage company will be needing to use it for other farms. As deer farmers, our breeding season is more concentrated than any other form of livestock. Basically, all artificial insemination is done in a 30-day time period.
  6. Keep your paperwork handy. Sometimes a buck is identified by name, but he may have been identified by tag number when collected, or by a code number by the storage facility. Having the paperwork handy can save valuable time when inseminating.
  7. Keep stress to a minimum. Clients have heard me comment many times about stress. Planning ahead can help keep some of the stresses down for Al. Remember keeping stress low will help conception rates. Just keep thinking “Happy Deer".

Custom storage facilities exist in several states such as Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, and Florida. These facilities exist not only because of the whitetail deer industry but for other industries such as cattle, sheep, and goats. Dr. Favero, 61, grew up on a deer farm and began working in the cattle industry after graduating from The University of Illinois with a doctorate degree in reproductive physiology. As a life-long advocate of agriculture, he believes several factors contribute to the success of any livestock farmer. “Foresight, careful planning, good animal husbandry and good nutritional programs will result in a successful breeding program." he said.

Dr. Ray Favero