Sales of sexed dairy semen have doubled over the last two years according to a recent AHDB survey of breeding companies.
In the 12 months to March 2021, sales of sexed semen made up 63.5% of all dairy semen sales, up from 31.9% in 2019.
The increase reflects a sharp upwards trend since 2017 when sales were only 17.9%.
Marco Winters, AHDB head of animal genetics, said: “Improvements in reliability and costs have given farmers more confidence to use sexed semen over conventional in recent years. More cows are being served for beef to produce more saleable animals since fewer cows are needed as replacements.”
The survey also showed a high proportion of beef semen sales to the dairy herd, which made up 45.3% of total semen sales, compared with 33.3% in 2017.
“Sexed semen is a great option for farmers looking to breed replacements from their best females and lift their overall herd performance,” continued Mr Winters. “I’d encourage farmers to use AHDB’s herd genetic report to help make more informed breeding decisions by identifying which animals to breed to dairy and which to beef.”
The AHDB and NFU’s national dairy calf strategy aims to eliminate calf euthanasia by 2023 and increase the number of male calves entering the beef supply chain.
Paul Flanagan, AHDB dairy strategy director said: “The uplift in the use of sexed dairy and beef semen reflects the efforts made in recent years and further demonstrates the industry’s resolve to address challenges around bull calfs.”
The GB Dairy Calf Strategy can be found at ahdb.org.uk/GB-calf-strategy