CRV Ambreed’s move to a new state of the art, purpose-built production, distribution and logistics centre has marked an exciting new era for the company.
CRV Ambreed’s entire operation is now located at the CRV Bellevue Production and Logistics Centre, located on the outskirts of Cambridge.
The CRV Bellevue Production and Logistics Centre is one of the best facilities of its kind in the Southern hemisphere. It houses a semen collection facility, a semen processing laboratory, storage space for export and domestic products, a warehouse with farmer AI banks, and 38 hectares of grazing paddocks.
The Centre has been developed to the highest standards required to ensure CRV Ambreed meets its domestic and export compliance requirements, biosecurity requirements and animal welfare standards.
The most recent development has been two new animal housing barns providing five-star accommodation for CRV Ambreed’s bulls. Farm manager Dave Smith, says the goal is to have the healthiest and most productive animals possible, and the new animal housing facility truly adds credibility and delivery of this aim.
At our old site CRV Ambreed had the potential to house five bulls in a situation like this. Now 120 bulls can be housed in each shelter at any one time. About 40-50 production bulls will be in the shelter at a time.
“Now our animals don’t have to be in the paddock, cold, fighting the elements, covered in mud. They’re also in a more hygienic environment. The bulls love being in there,” Smith says.
“In the summertime semen quality is effected heavily by the heat. While the bull might be producing huge samples of semen, the semen has to be discarded because the quality has been effected by heat. Its five degrees less inside the shelter during summer.
About the facility
- About 200 bulls are housed at the CRV Bellevue Production and Logistics Centre
- 110-150 young progeny test bulls enter the Centre each year
- All bulls must complete and pass health tests, disease tests and have their IBR status taken to qualify to be housed at the Centre
- Strict procedures are in place to ensure biosecurity and that every animal housed at the facility meets compliance with EU regulatory requirements
- 18 paddocks house mature bulls
The business of semen collection
Bull collection typically take place five days a week, 50 weeks of year.
Bulls work on a roster system based on the bull’s target or how many doses of semen are required. Mature bulls can be rostered on 50 weeks of the year. Progeny test bulls will not be mature enough for production until 12 months of age.
A top bull that’s healthy and has good semen quality has the capacity to produce 80,000-100,000 doses of conventional semen each year.
Each time a bull comes into the collection facility, they produce about 1000 doses. So they have the capability to produce about 2,000 doses a week if they are a good producing bull.
The mature bulls like Maelstrom will continue their production throughout the year until they reach their target. Sometimes it only takes three months for a bull to complete their production targets.
“Over the last 10 years we have found that it is most efficient to collect from each bull twice a week. It’s an individual case for each bull, but they are generally more productive, the semen collected is better quality, it creates better efficiencies, and they are happier and healthier this way,” says Smith.
May to October is CRV Ambreed’s busiest time for collection, but certainly not the most productive time as the focus is on collecting from the young, progeny test bulls.
“We have the most utmost respect for these bulls. We treat them the best we can, but we do acknowledge that they are dangerous animals and we have to have strict health and safety procedures in place.”