Do artificial insemination companies still need to pay high priced sire analysts to run the roads being nothing more than glorified tail hair pullers?  There once was a time when the skill of the sire analysts was the biggest differentiator an A.I. company had.  However, things have changed and the question now becomes,”Is the role even needed anymore?”

I am not trying to say that the current crop of sire analysts are not as good as some of their predecessors.  What I am saying is that, with the introduction of genomics, the role of the sire analyst has all but been replaced.  Or has it?

Who shot the sire analyst?

Technology has replaced the sire analysts and genomics is the smoking gun.  Gone are the days where a sire analyst could chose to contract a cow because he had confidence in her or the breeding program.  Also gone are the days when it was the sire analyst’s job to identify which cows are the real deal and which ones are just smoke and mirrors (read The Hot House Effect on Sire Sampling and Has Genomics Knocked out Hot House Herds).

Now more than ever it’s a numbers game.  Now it isn’t who can sample the most bulls, but rather with genomics, it is simply a matter of whether the numbers add up.  There once was a time if a cow was not at least an 87+ point cow she would never even get a second look from an A.I. company.  Now we are seeing bulls being sampled from Good Plus 2yr olds or even maiden heifers (Read – Is Good Plus Good Enough?)

What is a sire analyst to do?

As A.I. companies are being forced to get lean in order to keep operation cost down, you notice fewer sire analysts running the roads.  Many new A.I. companies don’t even have people in these roles.  So what are these soon to be unemployed, self-confident analysts to do?  Well rest assured the smart ones will learn to adapt.  Moreover, the others will quickly learn Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.  It’s no longer about how great a cattle judge they are.  Today it will come down to three things:

  • How well they negotiate contracts
    the first thing I would do is train every single one of these individuals on how to become the best negotiators they can be.  The future of their A.I. companies depends on how well these front line individuals can procure top cattle and negotiate the best value deal they can.  The power has shifted and it’s no longer breeders being excited that an A.I. company is even speaking to them, it has now become a bidding war (Read Top 10 Questions to Ask Before You Sign That A.I. Contract).  I would even recommend that sires analysts get paid 100% based on the deals they negotiate.  Much like in sales those that are great will rise to the top and make a lot of money, and those that can’t will find themselves going pretty hungry.
  • How well they build relationships
    The best way to become an expert negotiator is to be able to build great relationships.  When any parties sit down to work out a deal, it comes down to who you know and trust.  All things being equal, the breeders who own the cattle with the top genomics are going to make a deal with individuals that they know and trust.  If they can’t trust you, no amount of “extras” are going to make up for the lack of it.
  • No longer an expert cattle evaluator they are now breeding advisers
    For years sire analysts have been put on pedestals as these great evaluators of cattle, and many where.  In many cases top breeders are just as smart or even smarter at doing this. Today that particular skill is not as relevant as it once was.  The evaluation part is being done by the “number crunchers” back at the office (aka the geneticists).  However, a great way for A.I. companies to get a head start on their competition is to help breeders breed the next generation of great ones.  Share the wealth of knowledge that the “number crunchers” provide with the partner herds that you are looking to sample from, so that you can become that trusted adviser that will give the edge when it becomes contract negotiation time.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Would I fire all the sire analysts?  Yes, if they can’t adapt and become relationship builders and trusted advisers who know how to negotiate a win-win deal for both sides.  The predictability and reliability that genomics has brought to the industry has taken the role of sire selection from an art form to a very calculated science.  Those sire analysts that recognize this and adapt will thrive.  Those that don’t should start polishing their resumes.