05 July 2015 | Online since 2003

Female sexed semen has higher value than previously thought



5 March 2014 03:22:13|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


Start Date: 25 June 2015
Job for Soil Sampling Technician    >>> Based in Kent<<< South East coverage

ACS Farm Image, part of the ACS Group, provides specialist services in soil analysis and mapping for the purpose of determini...


Start Date: 5 July 2015
C175: Poultry Farm Manager - Laying - West Midlands

Our client is looking for a dedicated Farm Manager to work on one of their Commercial Chicken Breeding Facilities in the West...


Start Date: 5 July 2015
A427: Territory Sales Person - Agricultural Machinery - West Midlands

De Lacy Executive seek an experienced and enthusiastic sales person with drive and determination, to cover a sales territory ...


Start Date: 5 July 2015
A422: Experienced Food Assessor - SAI Global - Home-based in Ireland

SAI Global provides organizations around the world with information services and solutions for managing risk, achieving compl...


Start Date: 22 June 2015
Skilled arable operator. Permanent job in Suffolk

We are looking for a skilled arable operator with PA1 and PA2 certificates who also has experience of spraying operations.&nb...





Top stories you may have missed
5 June 2015 | Cattle

A strong pound and increased red meat imports coupled with a plentiful dome...


5 June 2015 | Arable

Depression is affecting Wales' farming industry and there is a need to use ...


5 June 2015 | Arable

With just one week to go before the final judging and announcement of the w...


5 June 2015 | Finance

A rural law expert has highlighted the importance of good succession planni...


5 June 2015 | Farmshops

A south Yorkshire dairy farming family is pulling out all the stops to prom...


4 June 2015 | Finance

Predicting what is going to happen to wheat prices is a challenge, but in s...


4 June 2015 | Agri Safety

A Lancashire based livestock theft prevention scheme is aiming to go nation...


4 June 2015 | News

A female farmer has been recognised by the farming and conservation industr...


4 June 2015 | Finance

The new Conservative government appears to be preparing to implement cuts f...


4 June 2015 | Arable

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) will have mobile support units at the follo...