Based on favourable results in last year’s Teagasc research trial, it is estimated that the usage of sexed semen in 2014 will exceed 50,000 straws according to Dr Stephen Butler of Teagasc, Moorepark.
Writing in Teagasc Research Highlights from 2013 publication he said: “This represents a 500% increase within one year.”
As a result of strong farmer demand, Butler noted that it is likely that a permanent sexed semen laboratory will be established in 2014.
He said: “Greater usage of sexed semen has benefits for both the dairy industry (allowing faster expansion post quota), and the beef industry (fewer low value male dairy calves). This has the potential to be one of the most important technologies introduced on Irish farms in recent years.
Last years trial, which was established to access the potential of sexed semen in Ireland for dairy cows and heifers, was carried out in spring 2013.
It involved industry partnerships and funding. In total 15,000 inseminations were carried out on 392 farm’s by 100 AI technicians.
The results indicated that frozen-thawed sexed semen performed far better than expected, with a drop of only 7 per cent (49 per cent vs 42 per cent) in conception rates compared with conventional semen.
However results from fresh sexed semen were disappointing though, with conception rates around 12-15 per cent lower than those achieved with conventional semen.
The trial also showed that results were improved the longer the cows were after calving at insemination and the greater the animal’s body condition score.