The Effect of Sperm Morphology and Sire Fertility on Calving Rate of Finnish Ayrshire AI Bulls

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Good-quality semen is a prerequisite for successful and profitable artificial insemination (AI) of modern dairy cattle. Fertility of the bulls is evaluated with andrological examinations and semen analyses, such as morphology. However, little attention has been paid to the inheritance of bull fertility. In this study, we correlated sperm morphology, birth year and station of 695 AI bulls with calving rate (CR). Sperm morphology was clearly associated with CR underlining the usefulness of morphological examination in the assessment of fertility. The correlation between the proportion of normal spermatozoa and CR was significant (p < 0.001). No significant differences were detected between stations or birth years. We also compared the CR of 695 AI bulls with the CR of their 27 sires to study the inheritance of fertility. Sire's CR did not correlate with the CR of the sons (p = 0.218). This result indicates that at least when sires of acceptable CR are used to produce sons for use in AI the inheritance of CR is not significantly correlated.

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