CSU will soon be able to ship horse semen internationally.
Construction of a 44 foot by 84 foot stallion barn at CSU’s Equine Reproduction Lab is nearly finished. The barn is capable of comfortably housing 10 stallions, said Associate Professor Patrick McCue.
A 1,200 square foot semen collection area and an expanded and updated laboratory were also recently completed.
The $300,000 facility will enable CSU to test, store, freeze and export horse semen internationally, McCue said. The lab provides these services for private horse owners, as well as for CSU’s veterinary and biomedical sciences teaching programs.
A stallion’s semen is usually tested to determine his potential fertility, or how many mares he will be able to impregnate in one breeding season, said McCue.
There can be anywhere from two to six billion sperm in one semen sample. The sample is magnified and projected on a television screen where employees can find the number, volume, concentration and motility of the semen. Once obtained, the semen is cooled, frozen and stored in liquid nitrogen tanks until it is ready to be shipped.
Horse semen is shipped overseas to horse owners that want to breed their mares with American stallions, McCue said. Though the extraction and shipping of semen is a difficult process, it is often easier and more cost-effective than transporting a horse across seas.
The Equine Reproduction Lab is also largely used as a teaching tool.
“Our students need to know how the breeding industry works,” McCue said.
Both graduate students and undergraduate students spend time at the Equine Reproduction Lab. Students majoring in equine science or veterinary medicine and biomedical sciences can be found at the lab.
Paula Moffet, a graduate student studying biomedical sciences, has worked at the Equine Reproduction Lab for about two years.
“With the commercial and research programs, you get to see so many more different things,” Moffat said. “That’s something not every facility has access to.”
It is the most important part of what he does, says Jason Bruemmer, an associate professor in the equine reproduction department.
“The idea is to provide students that want a firsthand knowledge of the breeding operation an opportunity to rotate through this program,” he said.
Edited by Shandra Jordan, Colleen Buhrer and Ben Koerselman