In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
Whispering Hills Farm (WHF) has a strong desire to not only maintain Heritage Shorthorn genetics but to expand their reach in the cattle industry and to provide unique heritage genetics to other Heritage Shorthorn breeders. We have now started our cow-friendly IVF program which is totally hormone free. No hormones are used in either the production of our embryos or their eventual implantation. This a revolutionary concept but we believe it is the right thing to do. We use our own cows as recipients so that we can maintain our strict health standards and provide positive fetal programing for the developing calf.
As more information becomes available on the effects of fetal programming it has become increasing clear that the quality of the recipient cow can have a tremendous impact on the embryo she is carrying even though she is the “foster dam”. Since we use our own cows as recipients we know they are calm, excellent milking, and feed efficient. All qualities that the recipient cow may transmit to the developing calf because she has the ability to turn on specific positive genes in the calf that will cause these genes to be active in the calf. The days of using poorly selected cheap recipient cows are over if a breeder is trying to maximize positive qualities in the developing calf.
The first calf produced through this methodology is due to be born in mid-May. WHF already has embryos ready to implant next spring for additional calves. Over the next several years IVF will allow WHF to use rare Heritage bulls that we only have small amounts of semen left on but still produce significant numbers of offspring. This will guarantee further preservation of Heritage Shorthorns while providing opportunities for Heritage Shorthorn breeders to expand their genetic base.
We will be updating this section on a regular basis as we move forward with our IVF program.