The Vallevecchia Island is a natural oasis in Brussa Caorle (Venice), here is located the Artificial Insemination Station and all the Intermizoo bulls.
The natural oasis is about 900 hectares and is delimited by sea, lagoon and rivers, which allow full access control.
Vallevecchia is far away from other farms, which guarantees sanitary isolation and high biosecurity standards of the bulls and the facilities.
Artificial Insemination Station
The A.I. Station in Vallevecchia is composed by 3 barns, housing about 200 bulls of different breeds: mainly Holstein bulls but also beef bulls and Water buffalos.
The main barn houses intense production bulls and all the production facilities, which are: semen collection area, laboratories, warehouse and offices. This building is completely indipendent in case of sanitary emergency: it can be completely isolated from the entire area.
In the Vallevecchia A.I. Station, there are about 200 bulls, most of which are Holstein Friesian breed. There are also some Beef Bulls and about 20 Water Buffalos. Bulls are breed in three different barns.
The production barn is divided in two parts: one with larger boxes and straw bedding for the heavier and older bulls and one with conventional boxes for younger bulls.
This is the main part of the A.I. Station, which is composed also by the semen collection area, laboratories, warehouse and offices.
In the Vallevecchia A.I. Station there are also other two stables characterized by single and multiple boxes, with sawdust and straw bedding for bulls not in production.
6 km away from the Vallevecchia Island, there is also a quarantine barn, where animals stay for at least 40 days before entering in the main facilities. During this time, bulls are checked for the main diseases, in order to avoid biosecurity issues at the Center.
During their entire life, bulls are daily trained and get used to human presence and management. This allows to improve wellness and mental health both for bulls and operators.
The semen collection activities are organized in 3 days per week, during which is collected semen from 18 bulls each.
The first quality check goes for color, consistency and residues. Then volume and concentration are analysed by the CASA system. The CASA system is an image analyser that allow to evaluate the morphology and the kinetics of spermatozoa.
For the cryoconservation, the semen has to be dilute, thanks to a solution of egg yolk and sugars for nutritional function and glycerol for freeze damages protection.
The initial temperature of 34°C is gradually lowered until it reaches 4°C: in these conditions, the spermatozoa slow down their metabolic functions and the process can proceed.
Then the semen is packaged in straws and frozen at 140°C. Finally, it is immersed in liquid Nitrogen, at temperature -196°C.