Episode two of the Sustainable Breeding Summit took place yesterday evening (Wednesday, April 5) on the dairy farm of James Hanly.

The focus of episode two was on breeding and fertility management on Irish dairy farms.

The main focus of the second webinar was around the use of sexed semen and the use of synchronisation programme on Irish dairy farms.

Martin Kavanagh returned to chair the panel, but he was joined by five new farmers and experts:

  • Ben Slee, an artifical insemination (AI) technician with Munster Bovine;
  • Denis Howard, a veterinary surgeon with Munster Bovine;
  • James Hanly, a dairy farmer from Co. Tipperary;
  • Trevor Hanly, a breeding advisor with Progressive Genetics;
  • George Beattie, a Co. Wicklow dairy farmer and presenter of George Goes Dairy Farming.

Sustainable Breeding Summit

Martin Kavanagh asked Trevor Hanly, a breeding advisor with Progressive Genetics, about how he advises farmers to introduce sexed semen on their farm.

“I advise farmers to use sexed semen with caution and on select, high fertility cows,” he explained.

“For the heifers I would advise farmers to use a synchronisation programme across the board.

“I would also make sure that a team of bulls is picked. If you have 20 heifers, you should use three bulls. I would then advise that they use sire advice to match the bulls and heifers.”

Trevor Hanly


Denis Howard, a veterinary surgeon with Munster Bovine, spoke about the 90% purity of sexed semen and number of bulls being sexed in Ireland currently.

“The 90% purity, basically means that if you have 10 pregnancies from sexed straws, nine of them are going to heifers,” Denis stated.

2022 is the first time bulls have been sexed in Ireland for commercial use. Giving some insight, Denis said: “The capacity in Moorepark is 70,000 straws split between all the AI companies.

“Munster Bovine and Progressive Genetics have 25 to 30 bulls being sexed in Moorepark currently.

“All the high bull, they are able to be collected from the stud in Mallow, the big thing this year it is our top bulls that are being sexed and have them available for farmers.”

Denis Howard

Bull selection

Martin then asked Denis about field fertility in these bulls. Commenting on this Denis said: “We have talked about reducing risk and the same goes for sexed semen.

“There is a couple of things we do. We don’t sex the G1 bulls; the G1 are test bull out for there first season. They have passed all the test, but they are not proven in the field to get cows in calf, for that reason we don’t sex them.

“The bulls that are selected are very good for field fertility,” he said.