200 farmers found for sexed semen trial

Some 200 dairy herds have enrolled to partake in a sexed semen trial this spring, the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation’s (ICBF’s) Andrew Cromie told AgriLand.

“Over 10,000 shots of sexed semen will be distributed by the partner AI companies over the coming weeks. Some farmers have already received the straws and they will be delivered to others in the near future,” he said.

The demand among farmers was relatively slow, he noted, but that was just a reflection of what happened this spring at farm level.

As part of the scheme, each herd is required to take 60 straws from five different high-EBI bulls (30 sexed and 30 conventional) and the semen must be used on lactating cows.

To monitor the success of the sexed semen product – which has been X-sorted (heifer) to 90% purity – cows in the participating herds will be scanned. The first scan is set to take place approximately four-to-six weeks post-mating.

AgriLand understands that an evaluation of the sexed semen trial will be completed in September. From there, it will be decided whether or not to invest in the technology at a larger scale.

It is believed that the results of this trial will shape the decision on if a sexed semen lab is built in Ireland in the future. If successful, the product could be rolled out to Irish farmers on a more commercial scale in the coming years.