Friday, July 1, 2022

New high-tech CRV lab to meet sexed semen demand

Dairy genetics company CRV has opened a new sexed semen processing facility at its Bellevue facility, southeast of Hamilton.

CRV’s new facility at Bellevue uses IntelliGen technology to process sexed semen for the dairy industry.

Dairy genetics company CRV has opened a new sexed semen processing facility at its Bellevue facility, southeast of Hamilton.

The new laboratory is equipped with IntelliGen technology and is the only commercial laser-ablation semen sexing technology available in key global markets.

CRV managing director James Smallwood said IntelliGen technology’s process for developing sexed bovine genetics is gentler on the sperm cells than traditional sexed semen processes.

The technology does not subject semen cells to the high pressures, electric currents and shear forces that are used in the traditional sexed semen technology, which reduces stress on the cells as they are processed.

“The innovative technology we’ll be using at Bellevue means we can provide farmers with a high-quality sexed product to help them maximise their profitability and achieve genetic gains faster and in a more efficient way,” Smallwood said.

The process puts the semen through a quality control process to make sure it is viable and motile. The semen cells are then loaded onto the technology platform where the sex skew ratio is identified in the sample.

A sperm cell containing female DNA is heavier and more dense than male DNA. When cells are passing by detection laser, the software can then detect the difference in DNA content.

The system will then identify the female cells and use another laser to inactivate the unwanted cells.

The desired cells and the inactivated cells are combined and included in the straw. Cells are prepared with the right buffers for freezing and packaged at the right concentration.

The straws are then frozen. Each batch must pass stringent quality control criteria and is then ready for transport to customers on-farm.

The new facility will enable CRV to meet the growing demand from farmers and overseas markets for its sexed semen, which has tripled since last season.

That rise in demand is a result of farmers looking to accelerate their herds’ genetic gain and reduce bobby calf numbers.

He described the sexed semen technology as ‘precision breeding’.

“This approach means we are helping farmers select the right mix of sexed semen, conventional semen and dairy beef sires to breed better replacements, higher-value dairy beef calves and reduce the number of bobby calves,” he said.

“We’ve seen demand for sexed straws continue to grow year-on-year. For herds with good fertility management, using sexed semen from the very best bulls on your best cows is the most effective and fastest way to get ahead.”

If farmers use sexed semen, they are committing to those genetics being in the herd for eight years, because they are unlikely to get a bobby calf.

“The resulting heifer calves will be the future of their herd. So, it makes sense to spend time selecting the right genetics,” he said.

CRV’s new facility is EU-certified, which will allow the company to increase exports to the growing grass-fed genetics market in Europe.

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