Recording Embryo Transfer Calves – Information for members

With higher levels of ET calves being registered with Angus Australia members should be aware of a regulation that may cause issue in the registration of calves that fail parent verification.  Often members will downgrade a HBR or APR dam to Recipient status to be used as a surrogate dam.

Surrogate dams are often backed up to a natural joining in case the embryo transfer fails.

Periodically an Embryo Transfer calf will fail DNA Parent Verification (PV) and the member will seek to change the parents of the calf to that of the recipient dam and naturally joined bull.  The issue arises when the embryo transfer fails, and the recipient dam calves to a natural pregnancy.

The following regulation is then applied:

6.40 The dam of an animal recorded in the HBR, APR, ACR or MBR can only be amended if it is accompanied by a full DNA parent verification (i.e. both sire and dam). 

In theory this is a straightforward process however often the recipient dam will not have a DNA profile meaning that the calf parentage cannot be changed until the recipient dam has been DNA tested.  In practice this can be inconvenient and incurs additional costs.

There are several solutions for members in this position:

  1. Ensure that recipient dams have a DNA profile;
  2. In the case that a recipient dam does not have a DNA profile be prepared to DNA test the dam to Parent Verify the calve to the natural parents; or
  3. Record the calf without a Dam (ie record the calf with a sire only). The calf will then be recorded as a pending animal.  Then conduct parent verification to the donor dam and sire(s) after recording the calf – in this case if the calf qualifies to the donor dam and sire the parentage can easily be amended.  If it does not qualify to the donor, the calf is able to be recorded with the recipient dam and correct sire.

The third method would be most suitable for members who do not wish to conduct DNA testing on recipient females.