Thursday, April 25, 2024

Sexed semen sales triple

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Dairy genetics companies say orders for sexed semen have tripled from last season as farmers look to further reduce their bobby calf numbers this spring. The demand has forced CRV to source additional frozen sexed semen straws to cater for demand.
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Dairy genetics companies say orders for sexed semen have tripled from last season as farmers look to further reduce their bobby calf numbers this spring.

The demand has forced CRV to source additional frozen sexed semen straws to cater for demand.

CRV product development manager Peter van Elzakker says an increasing number of farmers are considering sexed semen as a tool for lifting herd performance by ensuring they get replacement heifers from their best cows.

“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 proven bulls is the most effective way to get ahead,” Van Elzakker said.

Likewise, LIC reported strong growth in its sexed semen sales when it reported its annual result in July.

Its genetics range accounted for almost half of the co-op’s total artificial breeding (AB) inseminations (41.3% or 1.79 of 4.3 million semen straws), more than double three years ago.

While this was predominantly from its Forward Pack and A2/A2 bull teams (1.6 million straws combined), it also included sexed semen, which experienced significant growth with triple the number of straws sold on the previous year – up from 33,804 to 110,125.

LIC chair Murray King says the growth will have a significant impact on-farm this spring and deliver a huge amount of value to farmers, with more heifer replacements and fewer bobby calves.

“We’re expecting this to be even greater next year with sexed semen orders likely to almost double again,” King said.

Van Elzakker says while there is a slight reduction in cow conception rates when compared to conventional semen products, sexed semen is a great option for heifer mating.

“Each pregnancy from sexed semen gives farmers a 90% chance of a heifer calf. This means getting replacements from elite cows, building herd numbers, or creating value through excess heifer sales, is a real option to drive herd improvement progress and profitability,” Van Elzakker said.

“Conception rates with sexed semen can be around 10% lower than non-sexed semen, but the genetic gains you get when you’re mating them with your top heifers make it a worthwhile investment.”

Many farmers are also using sexed semen to strategically improve herd replacements and then mate the remainder of their herd with dairy-beef genetics.

Using sexed semen in combination with dairy beef can also reduce the number of bobby calves, an increasingly important factor for farmers as they consider animal welfare.

He says farmers used the sexed semen on their top cows and used beef genetics on the rest of the herd.

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