Animal breeders, or artificial insemination technicians as they are also known, carry out the process of artificially inseminating livestock. They check they have all the equipment they need to use; travel to farms; check the farmer's instructions regarding the livestock to be inseminated; carry out insemination processes; and keep careful records of the tasks performed.
Animal breeders use semen banks and straws of semen. They use pipettes to insert semen into animals and a large sheath on their left arm to assist with this process. Some use hand-held computers to keep records and check their duties. They usually wear overalls and gumboots.
Animal breeding technicians need to know about livestock anatomy in order to carry out their duties. They need to be able to organise their time efficiently. They may also need to have some ability to work with computers, a reasonable level of literacy and good handwriting to complete records.
They normally work from home and travel to the farms they serve. Some may cover a small local region, while others travel all over the country.
During breeding seasons, animal breeding technicians can sometimes work seven days a week. Working hours are usually from very early in the morning and can continue late into the night, depending on the number of animals to be inseminated. As the job tends to be seasonal, technicians often have another job as well.
Animal breeding technicians spend most of their time working with farmers and sometimes veterinary surgeons. They may work with other technicians to inseminate large herds. Once they have gained experience, they usually work with little supervision and may also progress to a supervisory position.
Schooling & School Subjects
Degree: BSc (Agric) - Fort Hare, NMMU, UFS, UKZN, UL, UNISA, UP, US, UV, Agricultural Colleges
Diploma: CUT, CPUT, TUT
In some cases, animal breeding technicians undertake an induction process on the job, which includes gaining knowledge of livestock anatomy and the practical skill of inseminating. After this, they spend a period working under the close supervision of a senior technician before they can work on their own.
Agricultural Research Council
1134 Park Street, Hatfield
Tel: (012) 427-9700