The Minister of Agriculture Christiaan De Graaf over the weekend launched the Desert Ranch Reproduction Management Centre, an embryo transfer and semen tapping facility situated in Mmamashia, a few kilometres on the outskirts of the capital city, Gaborone.
Owned by a Motswana farmer, Monty Chiepe, the facility is a welcome addition to the industry and is expected to improve livestock production in Botswana.
Officially launching the facility de Graaf, said, “The use of reproductive technologies has become imperative; therefore it is necessary for all serious farmers to use these technologies. Although embryo transfer is in use in many countries it has been lagging behind in Botswana, with only one farmer, Basimanyana Masire having successfully initiated the preparation many years ago. We need Batswana farmers to adopt such reproductive methods for extensive use in order to improve livestock production,” he added.
The construction of the facility commenced in May 2013 and program has achieved results far greater than expected with a total production of 243 embryos in 44 flushings, averaging 9.6 flushes per cow, with the highest embryo yield being 25 embryos. This is against the industry average of 4/5 embryos per cow for the breed and world standard average conception standards of 50%. In many flushings and transplants, 33% is often the best one can hope for.
Chris Shivers, the executive vice president of the American Brahman Breeders Association spoke passionately on the Brahman Breed and endorsed the practices adopted by Desert Ranch.
Chiepe thanked those who helped or supported him along the way, further, acknowledging Basimanyana Masire as a pioneer who was ahead of his time. “Few, if any, really understood what he was trying to do at the time and the potential economic benefit it presented for Botswana, said Chiepe.