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Spin-off: THe domestic stallion and breeding with frozen...impossible dream?

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  • Spin-off: THe domestic stallion and breeding with frozen...impossible dream?

    All I see is a lose/lose proposition. On one hand, NA stallion owners must price their frozen to compete with frozen abroad. There is very little incentive for a MO to use frozen from a domestic stallion when they can get the stallion du jour from Europe.

    You can't sell by number of foal registrations, as a whole lot of foals aren't registered, and some of the registries have pretty much washed their hands of trying to get breeding certificates from frozen semen brokers - and now ask that the mare owners notify them of frozen breedings.

    Further, the breeding-with-frozen knowledge base and experience varies WIDELY across North America. Some clinics are getting pregnancies with half doses or less because of advanced technique. Some vets are just not expereinced and you as the SO need to allow them to use the two-dose SBS protocol which, if followed, allows even inexperienced vets to get frozen pregnancies. The cost of shipping doses is very high, and MO want to be able to ship all of their allotment at once (understandably) but there is no guarantee that the vet will actually destroy the unused frozen as evidenced by the Nandi thread.

    So - the obvious solution seems to be to treat all frozen as a commodity only. Sell by the dose, and ideally that dose should be contained in one straw. Well, there is only one or two vets here that have the ability to produce one-straw doses, and then you get back to pricing your product to compete favorably with European frozen. That sounds great until you consider that "favorable" probably means < $400 a dose, and that is CLEARLY not enough to pay the stallion's bills.

    What on earth does a SO do?
    "No matter how cynical I get its just not enough to keep up." Lily Tomlin

  • #2
    Originally posted by ahf View Post
    Well, there is only one or two vets here that have the ability to produce one-straw doses, and then you get back to pricing your product to compete favorably with European frozen.
    Don't have time to respond to the rest of your thread, but this statement isn't quite correct. There were only two people (note people - Jim Crump is NOT a vet) that could freeze an entire insemination dose in a 1/2 ml straw - Pedro Jou who is now deceased. HOWEVER, we freeze (as do several others) an entire insemination dose in 5 ml macro straws. It's considerably more user friendly than the 1/2 ml straws. The 1/2 ml straws were designed for use in the bovine industry where one straw "is" an insemination dose.

    I also don't believe that it's just frozen that needs to be priced competitively with European semen .

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    • #3
      It seems like standing a stallion in NA is a loosing battle.

      Kudos to those who do it... for the benefit of all the whimpier mare owners like me!
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      • #4
        I agree with you ahf. I see the conundrum from both sides, as well.

        We talk about this all the time - that there are stallions here in the US that we would liketo use but who are only available frozen, and then when you go down that road and all the extra expense, you might as well use something really interesting from Germany. We obviously prefer fresh because of the ease and reasonable cost, but I am sure frozen is much easier for the SO. It IS nice however to not have to worry about ordering fresh, just grab the frozen out of the tank!

        Interested to see the other answers here.
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        • Original Poster

          #5
          HOWEVER, we freeze (as do several others)
          Thank you for the correction. So there are FOUR practices in all of NA that freeze one dose/one straw. Correct? Until that number goes up substantially, that does not change the argument.

          I also don't believe that it's just frozen that needs to be priced competitively with European semen .
          This went completely over my head. I have not a clue as to what you are saying.

          *********************************
          The seed of this discussion actually occurred a couple of months ago with another stallion owner - while we were talking about managing competition schedules and meeting MO expectations for a stallion that competes.

          I don't think there IS an answer.
          "No matter how cynical I get its just not enough to keep up." Lily Tomlin

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          • #6
            Okay, as a stallion owner for many many years as well as mare owner too, there are many issues involved. We tend to use frozen from our own stallions even though taking them to SBS for a fresh cooled collection is less than 30 minutes each way. All of our frozen is stored with them, and we can have them charge and load the vapor shipper and bring it home days before we need it. When a mare is ready for breeding we have what we need, even on a weekend or holiday. We have gotten frozen semen from Europe too. Our success with frozen pregnancies is about equal to that with fresh over the years we have used any frozen at all.
            Our competition stallions have a stockpile of frozen available to satisfy demand if they are on the road. And the dead stallions, well, thanks to freezing, are still available too.
            I think there are as many horror stories with shipping fresh and timing things as there are stories of frustration with using frozen, but there is really one easy answer.
            When we got started in breeding my first broodmare vet told me one wise thing. "Don't use mares that don't get in foal easily." You could modernize that by adding "using fresh or frozen."
            Anne
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            "Where knowledge ends violence begins." B. Ljundquist

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            • #7
              Originally posted by ahf View Post
              This went completely over my head. I have not a clue as to what you are saying.

              *********************************
              The seed of this discussion actually occurred a couple of months ago with another stallion owner - while we were talking about managing competition schedules and meeting MO expectations for a stallion that competes.

              I don't think there IS an answer.
              I also don't believe that it's just frozen that needs to be priced competitively with European semen .

              I don't know exactly what ER is referring to, but I'll take a stab at it from my perspective, and that of another MO who is bringing in a lot of frozen semen. I have been looking at fresh stallions for months, as I have a mare who should probably be bred with fresh semen this year. Here is my dilemma: many stallion owners have put their stallions on a m/w/f schedule. That may work for some, but having gone down that road before, I won't do it again. It is easy for a SO to say, sure we can collect and ship again during the cycle, or get it next cycle, but when collection and shipping is usually costing $300-$400, it doesn't work for me. Plus, I get to spend another $800 or so for the next cycle of vet expenses. Compare that with proven frozen. I can buy a dose or two, or five, and have them shipped to my vet for the same price, or less, as a fresh collection and shipping charge for most fresh stallions, once. Further, if the mare doesn't get in foal I can breed again and avoid another collection/shipping charge. They are just sitting there. I did buy a fresh breeding to use, but if I decide to breed a second mare, I'll go with frozen. IMHO, many North American SOs are pricing themselves out of the market.
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              • #8
                Clint, I get what you are saying and that is why we tend to use frozen from our own stallions rather than fresh. We use a USDA facility to collect and package fresh, and do offer that at no extra cost to mare owners. Their cost is different for weekends and holidays, which is an additional expense for the mare owner, including ourselves, too. We get many straws of frozen versus a few doses of fresh per collection, which is also more cost effective.
                Our per dose price for frozen from our domestic stallions is better than the price for most imported semen, but probably not as "fashionable" though.....
                Anne
                -------
                "Where knowledge ends violence begins." B. Ljundquist

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  I'm a huge believer in the convenience of frozen. I've used frozen exclusively the last four years. But I have a good vet.

                  The original question had to do with competitive pricing vs. profitability and how to prevent unscrupulous dose-splitting. But threads will go where they may.
                  "No matter how cynical I get its just not enough to keep up." Lily Tomlin

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ahf View Post
                    I'm a huge believer in the convenience of frozen. I've used frozen exclusively the last four years. But I have a good vet.

                    The original question had to do with competitive pricing vs. profitability and how to prevent unscrupulous dose-splitting. But threads will go where they may.
                    I don't think there is anything you can do about dis-honest people splitting doses. All you can do is have a contract, and require that unused doses be returned to you. I have bred to frozen semen stallions under these conditions (Abdullah, the Holsteiner verband stallions that Fox Fire Farm carries, etc) and would/will do so again. If someone wants to cheat, then sadly there isn't much you can do about that.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ahf View Post
                      I'm a huge believer in the convenience of frozen. I've used frozen exclusively the last four years. But I have a good vet.

                      The original question had to do with competitive pricing vs. profitability and how to prevent unscrupulous dose-splitting. But threads will go where they may.
                      I wasn't quite sure where your complaint lies. I do understand the NO stallion owner having difficulty competing with the cachet of European frozen, but what specifically is the specific difficulty? I don't see NO frozen being a lot cheaper. If the MO takes a risk and splits the dose and gets a foal, or two, from one dose, to me that is good luck, and it is bad luck when frozen doesn't work. I'm out the frozen plus the per-cycle charges, and I don't ever get that back. Since the average conception rate for a mare is 1.5 cycles, you aren't always going to get a pregnancy in one try, no matter how good the semen is. SOs are trying to control how many foals you get from a dose, which I suppose is their right, but frankly when I go for a per dose buy, I think I have the right to try for more than one, if the semen is good for that. I had one stallion owner, who only sells frozen for that particular boy, tell me that I shouldn't have to use two doses, or even one, to get a pregnancy from the frozen, and she was right. That is my kind of SO.

                      I'm editing to add that I have never purchased semen any other way than a commodity; no restrictions, in other words. I would certainly return unused semen, if that was in the contract, and can understand a SO being very upset with a MO using semen outside of a contractual arrangement.
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                      www.mysticowlsporthorses.com

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                      • #12
                        As a breeder my first goal is to get the mare pregnant so we have not ever used split doses, and have had a very high success rate with frozen. If someone wants to try to get multiple pregnancies for a minimum cost,well, they also risk getting no pregnancy and a large cost. As a stallion owner, I never expected to make a profit so I guess I accept a certain amount to skulduggery from a mare owner. The registry I work with keeps meticulous records and cross checks our breeding report with registrations, so I have to trust that the system will "out" someone trying to register more foals than they contracted for. It is the contract, after all, that determines the issuing of the breeding certificate.
                        Last edited by not again; Mar. 21, 2011, 06:45 PM.
                        Anne
                        -------
                        "Where knowledge ends violence begins." B. Ljundquist

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                        • #13
                          As a breeder our number one priority is to get the mares bred as cost effectively as possible (meaning being careful to not waste semen or shipping or extra days at the vet, etc...). No wait, actually our biggest priority is MARKETABLE offspring. LOL. That is how we chose our stallions. I prefer to work with fresh semen but minus a few stallions which are not good matches for our mares, most of our options are frozen from Europe. This is not our preference, but the demand is what dictates the supply. When NA buyers/riders/trainers quit thinking foreign is ALWAYS better then things might change. But hey...it isn't just horses, Americans think just about everything is better if it come from across the ocean....it is a whole mindset. I used to think my grandpa was silly to only buy American....now I understand where he was coming from! We have shot ourselves in the foot.
                          I'll stick to mares....can't imagine the hardship of trying to stand a stallion here in the US. Cheers to all of you who do!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Equine Reproduction View Post
                            There were only two people (note people - both were NOT vets) that could freeze an entire insemination dose in a 1/2 ml straw - Pedro Jou who is now deceased a Jim Crump.

                            What???????? DR Pedro Jou was most certainly a vet. Licensed in Colombia AND in Canada. DVM, DV Sc.

                            And now his brother DR Daniel Jou, who is a licensed vet in Colombia, will soon be licensed in Canada as well.
                            He learnt the one straw technique from Pedro, and still freezes that way for some people, but is also freezing more straw/dose for other clients, since so many people seem to not be comfortable handling one straw doses.
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                            • #15
                              Seems to me it is a two-way street that has a lot to do with respect toward the other party in the business arrangement.

                              SO fulfills her responsibility to the MO by shipping an industry standard dose.

                              If MO splits that dose without the SO’s consent, she is, in essence, thumbing her nose at the SO’s conscious decision to abide by accepted business practices.

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by clint View Post
                                I also don't believe that it's just frozen that needs to be priced competitively with European semen .

                                I don't know exactly what ER is referring to, but I'll take a stab at it from my perspective, and that of another MO who is bringing in a lot of frozen semen. I have been looking at fresh stallions for months, as I have a mare who should probably be bred with fresh semen this year. Here is my dilemma: many stallion owners have put their stallions on a m/w/f schedule. That may work for some, but having gone down that road before, I won't do it again. It is easy for a SO to say, sure we can collect and ship again during the cycle, or get it next cycle, but when collection and shipping is usually costing $300-$400, it doesn't work for me. Plus, I get to spend another $800 or so for the next cycle of vet expenses. Compare that with proven frozen. I can buy a dose or two, or five, and have them shipped to my vet for the same price, or less, as a fresh collection and shipping charge for most fresh stallions, once. Further, if the mare doesn't get in foal I can breed again and avoid another collection/shipping charge. They are just sitting there. I did buy a fresh breeding to use, but if I decide to breed a second mare, I'll go with frozen. IMHO, many North American SOs are pricing themselves out of the market.
                                Exactly. Although I didn't go the frozen route two years ago, I did pass on a *very* nice domestic stallion because of the collecting/shipping day(s) limitation. He is retired from competition, so that wasn't the issue. I did however use another domestic, fresh stallion, but still the point is the same, and would be a consideration for fresh vs frozen.

                                Overall, I find a lot of the NA stallions seem more expensive (fresh or frozen) vs their European counterparts--just look at adds sometime in the magazines and compare it to the frozen brokers. I'm not saying there aren't NA stallions who are better and deserve more, I just mean the market overall. However, cost is only a small part of the consideration in who to breed to. But I wonder is it cheaper to stand a stallion in Europe, or is it just because they get so many more breedings?
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                                • #17
                                  I have not used frozen. But I would be upset to find out that frozen was being sent out to a MO, and unused straws were being sent back. What assurance would I have that the straws had not thawed and been refrozen?

                                  Years ago, I bought some Ferro straws as part of a package from a breeder in Canada. I paid dearly for the effort and never got any straws. The breeder kept her tank at home, and that wasn't acceptable for the US standards at that time. Then she let her tank run dry.

                                  I paid for a shipper to be sent to Canada, it sat in the back of someone's office, and was eventually returned. I paid extra for that delay too.

                                  With fresh, the shipment should come with data on that collection's viability. No guarantee, of course, that it is data from THAT shipment but reputable stallions owners would not fool around with falsifying lab results.
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                                  • #18
                                    I have purchased frozen both "by the unrestricted dose" and with a "one foal" contract. In the former instance, whether or not I split the doses should be my risk to take. In the latter, it would be dishonest. If you are worried about being cheated, why not sell unrestricted doses with no LFG?

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                                    • #19
                                      [QUOTE=Oakstable;5498630]I have not used frozen. But I would be upset to find out that frozen was being sent out to a MO, and unused straws were being sent back. What assurance would I have that the straws had not thawed and been refrozen?

                                      That was precisely Pedro Jou's standpoint on this issue.
                                      He would never take back or buy any frozen semen except if it had been stored at a reputable vet or storage facility, and it's storage route could be tracked.
                                      Too many opportunities for SNAFUs.
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                                      • #20
                                        Since our senior stallion is retired from competition he is available fresh or frozen, all details, collection and storage via SBS. My younger stallion is several states away with a well known event stable, so obviously frozen is the only option for people interested in him.
                                        At the end of the day it is up to the mare owner to decide what choices work. The SBS protocol takes a lot of the mystery and timing out of dealing with frozen semen, and has proven to offer a reasonable option for our clients beyond the reach of veterinary specialists.
                                        FWIW We never take back unused doses. They are sold, period. We do send a semen insemination report with all frozen and fresh cooled which the vet must sign (and include their state license number and return so that we know what mare(s) the dose(s) were used. All stated in the contract.
                                        Anne
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