01 April 2015 | Online since 2003



5 March 2014|Animal Health,Cattle,News

Female sexed semen has higher value than previously thought


Using sexed female semen has gained significant momentum across the UK’s dairy herds where the prospect of a valuable replacement heifer and the likelihood of an easy calving have attracted many dairy farmers to this practice.

But researchers from the USA have just uncovered a further advantage to producing a heifer calf and revealed that the female calf’s mother will produce significantly more milk than the cow producing a bull.

The trend is most pronounced of all in a first calf heifer which will give more milk in both her first and second lactations if her first calf is female. If her second calf is also a heifer, the benefit accumulates, and is worth 446kg of milk over the two lactations.

This is 2.7% more production than a cow which produced two bulls, and there is no difference between the two in the quality of the milk.

And while the researchers – from Harvard and Kansas State Universities and from Dairy Records Management Systems (a milk records organisation) – knew that the generally easier calving of a heifer calf was likely to have a positive effect on subsequent production, they were able to prove unequivocally that there was an additional cause.

Beginning their research with a remarkable 2.39 million lactation records from 1.49 million Holsteins, they subsequently cut this dataset down to eliminate lactations which began with difficult calvings, and even amongst this easy calving group, there was a positive effect on milk production of a female calf.

The mechanisms involved were not specifically identified but there was circumstantial evidence to suggest the female foetus was exerting a hormonal influence on her dam.

Relating the group’s findings to the farm situation, the researchers said there were more compelling reasons than before to use sexed female semen.

“Often in the USA, dairy farmers use sexed semen on heifers and one of the reasons for doing this is to avoid dystocia,” said the first author of the research, Professor Katie Hinde. “But now we know there’s also a production advantage to be gained, I’d say that if a heifer’s first calf is a bull, it’s worth considering sexed semen for her second lactation.”

Here in the UK, cattle breeding company, Cogent - who pioneered the use of sexed semen and now has one of the largest sexing facilities in the world at its Cheshire HQ - is delighted with the findings.

“Dairy farmers have been using sexed semen produced in Cheshire since 2000 and every year since the facility opened, we have accumulated customers, fine-tuned the sexing procedures and improved the outcomes,” says Innes Drummond, the company’s reproduction technologies manager. “Now we have a product from which at least 90% of pregnancies will be female, and our customers are increasingly benefitting from the sexed female advantage.

“These benefits include the production of a valuable heifer calf to become a herd replacement; the easier calving of a generally smaller female calf and the chance of assisting with cash flow by breeding the lower end of the dairy herd to a beef sire,” he says. “But now we know the mother of the heifer calf will also give more milk, there’s an even more compelling reason to use sexed semen than ever before.”

Download



Comments


No comments posted yet. Be the first to post a comment

To post comment without approval login or register

Display name

Please enter your name

Email (optional)
Comment

Please enter your comment

Post Comment

Your comment submitted successfully.Please wait for admin approval.

Some error on your process.Please try one more time.



Jobs


18 March 2015
Sales Manager ( Agriculture )
Territory - Northern Ireland Overview A leading agricultural business specialising in the manufacture of farm inputs are curr...

24 March 2015
Academy Physiotherapist
Based at our state-of-the-art training ground, Finch Farm this role will involve providing assessment, rehabilitation and fir...

20 March 2015
Account Manager
Our products are supplied into a varied range of industry sectors including construction, marine, agriculture and material ha...

20 March 2015
Agriculture Solicitor
Are you an experienced Agriculture Solicitor looking for your next role with a top tier firm in Essex? In your new role you w...

25 March 2015
Casual Sales/Demonstrator Person
Applications in writing or email only to Roy Hiddleston – orpost to employer at Solway Recycling Limited, Rigghead Farm, Shaw...




Top stories you may have missed
23 March 2015 | Cattle

UK butchers face difficulties to recruit...

Butchers in the UK are losing a generation through lack of training opportu...


20 March 2015 | Arable

Dust - the secret fertiliser?

NASA research has revealed how dust blown from the Sahara desert helps supp...


19 March 2015 | Arable

The Budget 2015: A Farmer's Budget?

“In the run up to the Budget 2015 most commentators were predicting that th...


17 March 2015 | News

UK's first floating solar power system l...

The UK’s first fully operational floating solar panel system has been unvei...


13 March 2015 | Animal Health

Labour and Conservatives clash over badg...

Axing the badger cull in England and Wales will save more than £120 million...


12 March 2015 | News

Solar could be cheapest energy source by...

By 2025, solar power could become one of the cheapest forms of energy in ma...


11 March 2015 | Finance

English buyers turn their attention to S...

Demand for Scottish farm land remains strong and continues to be better val...


9 March 2015 | Cattle

2020 vision for the Welsh red meat indus...

The Welsh red meat industry should aim to increase sales by at least 34 per...


6 March 2015 | News

MP raises egg industry concerns on trans...

Fears about the impact that a proposed transatlantic trade agreement could ...


Stay safe and legal when flying drones

The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Unmanned Aircraft Systems - or dron...