Registering ET and IVF Calves

Holstein Australia has developed a set of procedures to simplify the registration of calves born from Embryo Transfer (ET) or In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) programs.

It of is a requirement that all calves born through these programs to be parentage verified through DNA testing prior to registration.

1. Pre-flush preparation

It is strongly recommended that you DNA test the donor dam before flushing to ensure this information is available when you are ready to register the resultant calves. DNA testing costs $36.30 (GST inclusive) for each animal.

2. Flush the cow and complete Flush Form (ABC Form)

ABC forms are no longer compulsory to register ET animals, although they must be submitted with a DBC form where an embryo has been sold.

  • Flush the cow and complete a Flush Form (ABC Form) as soon as the flush procedure has taken place. This form records:

    • Dam's identity, including full name and Herdbook number
    • Sire's identity, including full name and Herdbook number. If there are two sires used both sires must be identified. Holstein Australia does not permit more than two sires to be used at one time.
    • Breeding (AI) and recovery (flush) dates.
    • Total number of embryos recovered.
    • Total number of embryos implanted.
    • Total number of embryos frozen.
    • If the embryo is implanted, recipient cow identification (e.g. ear tag, tattoo, herd test number, Herdbook number). No more than one embryo can be implanted into the one recipient.
    • If the embryos are frozen, a suitable identification code for the straw.
  • Send your completed form to Holstein Australia as soon as possible to ensure details are readily available once the calf is born and subsequently registered. Note that a separate Flush Form must be completed for each donor dam. A new Flush Form must be completed and forwarded to Holstein Australia each time a frozen embryo is thawed and implanted into a recipient dam. Make sure you include the original recovery date as well as the date of transfer into recipient.

    Triplicate Flush Forms can be ordered from Holstein Australia Office. The original (white) form is forwarded to Holstein Australia. One copy (yellow) is held by the owner and one copy (pink) is held by the veterinarian who performed the procedure. Alternatively, you can download a Flush Form. If downloading a Flush Form, make sure you make two copies of the completed form.

3. Parentage verification

Holstein Australia requires ALL calves born from ET and IVF programs to be parentage verified via DNA testing. This should be a simple procedure if the donor has been DNA tested before flushing, as recommended. After the calf is born, simply register your calf and request a DNA Testing Kit at the same time. If the donor has not been DNA tested, you must DNA test the donor and each calf. DNA testing costs $36.30 (including GST) for each animal. If a full DNA type is unable to resolve parentage, then additional tests are available at a cost of $7.70 (GST inclusive) per test per animal.

4. How to Collect A Hair Sample for DNA Testing

  • Request one DNA testing kit from Holstein Australia for each animal to be tested.

    Each DNA testing kit comprises:

    • A sample card in a plastic sealable bag
    • A label identifying the animal you are going to be testing
    • A letter of request to DNA test your animal
  • Collect a minimum of 20 hairs from the switch or the brush of the tail of the animal to be tested. If your cow does not have a tail, collect hair from inside the ear or under the belly. Short, fine body hairs are unsuitable. Ensure the hair is thoroughly dry.

    DNA is contained in the root or follicle of a hair, not in the shaft itself. Pluck the hairs from the switch or brush of the tail by wrapping around a pencil and pulling. Ensure the follicle (bulbous hair root) is attached. Do not cut the hairs.

  • Place all the hairs collected from each animal onto the supplied card and affix the supplied label. Place the card (with hair sample and matching label attached) into supplied plastic bag and return to Holstein Australia for processing. Once results are received and finalised, you will receive the results and an invoice.

5. Register the calf

Members may now register ET animals via the Holstein Australia website. When registering the calf you will be required to provide the following details in addition to the normal registration information: recovery date and recipient cow identification. If your calf has not been parentage verified at the time of registration, the registration status of the calf will be PENDING until verification occurs.

Important: If two sires are used in the same flush, all calves from the flush must be parentage verified before registering the calf. All ET & IVF calves must be parentage verified through DNA testing prior to registering the calves. Imported embryos cannot be registered online.

6. Buying and selling embryos (either frozen or recipient cow in calf)

The vendor is required to submit the Holstein Australia's DBC form for the transfer of ownership of an embryo either frozen or recipient in calf. This form includes:

  • Buyer's details
  • Sale date
  • Donor dam identification
  • Sire details
  • Recovery date
  • Number of embryos sold
  • Recipient dam identification
  • Frozen straw identification

Send the completed form to Holstein Australia as soon as possible after the embryo is sold in order to make sure these details are available for the new owner to register the impending calf. There is a $22 (including GST) fee for lodging each DBC form.