AB Technicians Tash Meredith and her daughter Sophie are passionate about helping farmers breed healthy, happy cows. Tash started as an AB technician more than 14 years ago and has been with CRV Ambreed for the last seven. This season, she has enjoyed the company of her 20-year-old daughter Sophie as her assistant.
Initially, Tash’s motivation for becoming an AB technician was to help with breeding on her own dairy farm. Now she enjoys helping other farmers improve their businesses through their breeding choices.
Tash has been named CRV Ambreed AB Technician of the Year for the Waikato region.
Artificially inseminating more than 12,000 cows last year, her run stretches from north of Otorohanga to Waimiha in the King Country. The award recognises Tash’s commitment, competency and excellent cow return rates, meaning her success at ensuring cows are in calf. “I like the opportunity to learn and meet other farmers. I enjoy working with people to improve their herds because it’s an important way of helping their business,” says Tash.
Artificial breeding or artificial insemination in cattle is the process by which semen is collected from a bull, stored in a straw and used by the AB technician to inseminate cows. The AB technician visits the farm every day, normally between October and November.
Many of Tash’s farmers enjoy discussing with her their choice of bulls.
“It’s the part of my job I enjoy the most because the end result is improving herds and farmers’ businesses. The breeding side of what I do really interests me,” she says.
Tash thinks she has inseminated more than 100,000 cows during her career and says even the birth of her two children couldn’t keep her out of the shed.
“Both my kids were born during mating season and I was back in the shed within a couple of days inseminating our own herd. I would have done the AB run, but my family wouldn’t let me,” she jokes.
Sophie goes with her mum on her morning AB run when she helps as a loader and hands Tash the straws. Tash says Sophie had planned to go travelling overseas, but Covid-19 restrictions had limited that opportunity. Now, Sophie is considering training to be an AB technician too.
“To be an AB technician you have to have an interest in farming and a basic knowledge of cows”.
“It’s amazing how much breeding can affect the profitability and productivity of an entire farm business. It’s an important time of the year for dairy farmers.”
As well as working as an AB technician, Tash also works on the family farm where they milk 550, predominately Friesian cows.
“It’s a busy lifestyle, but I enjoy the work we do,” says Tash. “CRV has been great to work for. They’re a bit smaller than their competitors and as a result they’re really focused on their customer service and doing the best job for their farmer customers.”
If you are interested in working as an AB technician get in contact with the team at CRV.