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 organize 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.
- performing a very useful function
- generally, the satisfaction of working with animals
- difficult animals can cause frustration
- working in various weather conditions
- large amount of travelling involved
- having to work irregular hours at times
- seasonal aspect of the work
- a clean and tidy appearance
- able to relate well to farmers and animals
- able to concentrate for long periods of time
- good manual dexterity.
- physical and mental stamina
- a valid driver's licence
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course
Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.
Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics, Physical Science
Recommended Subjects: Life Sciences
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.
- companies providing artificial insemination
- government departments, such as Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Research Council
P O Box 8783
Tel: (012) 427-9700
Fax: (012) 342-3948