Two tanks of bull semen stolen as farmers warn ‘you don’t mess around’ with it

Two tanks of bull semen have been stolen from a farm with experts stressing "you do not mess around" with the vats.

The tanks, used for artificial insemination, are believed to have been taken from an outbuilding in Clogher, County Tyrone, on October 23. The two containers held a "large quantity" of bodily fluid, reports the BBC.

The substance is stored in straws in compartments inside cryogenic storage tanks. It is unclear how large the tanks are but police said the vats themselves, as well as the sperm inside, were of "significant value."

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The cost of cattle semen varies depending on the quality of the bull. A premium animal can fetch lofty prices, as artificial insemination can allow farmers to select the genetics they want to pass down to a new generation of cattle.

Agriculture experts are understood to be shocked by the theft, as other farmyard equipment such as vehicles and tools are not only easier to steal, but far simpler to sell on. Unsurprisingly, the market for bull semen is fairly limited.

Aside from its niche appeal, the sperm has to be kept at ice-cold temperatures and liquid nitrogen is used to ensure the contents doesn't spoil. This can make using the tanks dangerous.

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The tanks also have to be topped up several times a year. One farmer told the BBC: "You don't mess around with liquid nitrogen."

The tanks are small enough that they could have been transported by car, an expert said. However, in order to make sure the lid didn't fall off, whoever nicked the contents would have had to make off with their stolen cargo very slowly.

Artificial insemination not only allows farmers greater control over the genetics of the calfs they produce in their farms. It is also safer than bringing a bull to herd.

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