Reliable techniques for semen freezing were developed in the early 1970’s by S. Salmon. The establishment of the laparoscopic method of intra-uterine insemination with frozen –thawed semen by Kileen in 1982 was a major breakthrough in this field. It presented the smallstock stud industry with a number of new opportunities.
After seven years in private practice, Dr Johan Steyn joined Taurus Co-op (cattle AI group) in 1984. He worked with a group of Australians for 9 weeks and established the first semen collection centre for rams on the farm Donkerhoek close to Bloemfontein in 1985. The South African small stock stud industry was very active and profitable during that period . The fact that ram semen could be frozen, stored, distributed and inseminations produced good conception rates, resulted in a fast growth period and a lot of hard work.
Programs all over the country resulted in traveling of distances of 100 000km per year and 6 months on the road.
A selected number of private veterinarians were then trained in the application of the laparoscopic techniques. The company RAMSEM was founded in 1989 with Taurus and BKB as shareholders. With the withdrawal by Taurus in 1992, Johan Steyn took over all the shares and control of RAMSEM. RAMSEM bought its own premises in 1997 in the Roodewal area just east of Bloemfontein. The A.I. and E.T. centres were re-registered and government approved. Both personnel and visitors enjoy the pleasant surroundings of this area.
Sheep and goat breeds involved.
South Africa has absolute unique sheep and goat breeds that had major influences on the small stock industries of a number of countries over the last decade.
The local stud industry is active and demanding. The South African studbreeders were able to improve all breeds during the past 50 years and now have unique genetic material on offer
Demand for genetic material from the Boer Goat in the early 1990’s triggered the export market from the RSA. First export protocol for embryos was established with Canada in 1994. Regular exports follows and the Boer goat is now well-known and accepted as the meat goat with the best conformation and growth in the world.
Kalahari Red Goat and Savanna goats.
These are also locally developed breeds with a growing popularity
The milk goat industry is relative small in South Africa. There are a few dedicated breeders of the Saanen , Alpine and Toggenberger breeds.
RAMSEM has working relationships with all the leading breeding societies and provides a local service as well as an international marketing service for all sheepbreeds.
RAMSEM has been involved in many export programs since 1994. Exports have been made to Canada and Brasil. RAMSEM has also exported to China, Germany and Switzerland. Countries like Canada and Australia export to the USA, Mexico and Europe.