Monday, February 1, 2016

You Won't Believe What We Found in this Semen Tank!

In honor of our Spring Tank Special. I thought I would throw it back to 1998 and an article written by then Vice President of Technical Services, Dr. Robert Bower. This article appeared in our Dairy Horizons magazine.

How In The World Did All of That Get in There?

"I'm having trouble getting semen out of my tank."

An altogether common statement heard from folks who breed their own cows. It's not hard for a cane to slip down alongside the canister and fall into the bottom of the tank. But, usually, that just makes it harder to put the canister back in its proper place.

This time they could not get the canisters out without a struggle.

The young farm wife, with her little boy in tow, had brought their farm tank into our lab to see if we could help with their problem. Diana, our Distribution Supervisor, told her we would try to help. The first trick was to get the canisters out and put them in a transfer unit so the semen would remain frozen. It was a trick because whatever was in the bottom of the tank made it very difficult to move the canisters. With a lot of juggling and shaking, a canister was finally removed, and then another and, after some time, all six were safely transferred.

By shining a flashlight inside the tank, we could see there were some objects in the bottom, but it was difficult to say what they were and they appeared to be too small to be removed with a retrieving device. The only solution would be to empty the liquid nitrogen from the tank and try to dump the objects out.

The liquid was carefully poured into a storage vessel until, finally, only vapor belched from the opening and we could hear objects tumbling down in the upturned tank.

With shaking and jiggling, the tank began to reveal its hidden trove - some nails, coins, and screws. Then more and more items fell from the cold cavern. When the rattling finally stopped and everything that did not belong in the tank was out, a startling inventory lay on the floor:

  • Ice Scraper
  • Pair of Child's Ballet Shoes
  • Child's Running Shoe
  • Baby Bottle with Nipple
  • Wooden Clothes Pins
  • Nails
  • Screws
  • Paper Clips
  • Coins
  • Wallet containing $13, a Credit Card, and a Social Security Card
  • Eye Glass Case
  • Ball Point Pens
  • Several Socks
  • Pieces of Rope
  • Door Pulls
  • Roll of Electrical Tape
  • Denim Pencil Case
  • Pieces of Paper
  • Pieces of Chalk
  • Semen Cane
  • Several Loose Straws
When the young woman finally overcame the shock, she asked, "How in the world did all of that get in there?" As she spoke the words, her son's chin sunk lower and lower into his chest, his eyes averting his mother's.

When the tank was safely recharged with nitrogen and the canisters of semen were replaced, we were able to give a very receptive student a lesson in tank safety and security. Farm semen tanks should be locked when not in use to prevent theft and potentially serious accidents to children.

Unfortunately, not every tank problem can be solved with a visit to Genex Distribution and a padlock. If it is time for an upgrade, additional, or even your first tank, now is the time to buy, during our Spring Tank Special.

Have you had to retrieve any odd items from your tank? Share your story in the comments below.


  1. This is priceless! What a funny story - but also a good lesson to keep those tanks secured. :)

    1. Think of all the hassle associated with losing your wallet, credit card and social security card! Ugh! But, alas, I do have kids and could definitely see them trying this too!