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Beef on dairy rise in US herds as sexed semen conception increases

Up to 4 million less dairy semen straws were sold into the US market last year as producers embrace “beef-on-dairy”, according to a leading technology manufacturer.

This comes as new research showing “basically identical” conception rates between the new sexed semen product and conventional semen was unveiled to the 2020 Genetics Australian online conference audience last night.

Sexing Technologies CEO Juan Moreno – live from Texas in the US – explained how improvements to the way sex semen was produced delivered fertility gains and reduced the cost of the product.

Revealing world-first data, Juan said a trial involving 14,000 sexed semen and 30,000 conventional inseminations across more than 80 herds – including both synchronised and natural mating’s- had statistically proven the improvements farmers had witnessed thanks to the new technology.

Last year about 19. 2 million straws of dairy semen were sold in the US market, down 4 million straws from 2017 – the first-year sales of sexed semen started to surge.

“Producers are using genomics to identify their best females, their best females are being artificially inseminated with sexed female semen out of the best bulls and that’s what is creating the next generation of replacements and the rest of the herd is being bred to beef bulls,” Juan said.

“(That’s created) a new product called beef-on-dairy and it is showing to be a very high-quality product, that is starting to bring a premium. A lot of producers that are now feeding beef-on-dairy genetics on the feedlots are getting the same price and, in some cases, a higher price than producers are getting for a straight beef animal. Why? Because a dairy animal crossbred with a beef bull has a tremendous amount of uniformity. Imagine this, I’m a large dairy and produce 100 beef calves out of dairy cows. All those 100 beef calves are going to be out of one bull, that is called uniformity and the beef chain likes uniformity.”

Juan urged conference attendees to contemplate a future where the dairy industry would need to produce more milk and beef without increasing the amount of arable land or natural resources consumed.

He said technology was the answer to increasing agricultural efficiencies to feed a growing global population, pointing specifically to a growing trend of breeding for improved feed conversion efficiency.

Next week: Dr Ky Pohler, Texas A&M University assistant professor will speak about improving fertility.