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Watch: The advantages of sexed semen usage

Sex-biased semen is a revolutionary technology that provides many potential advantages for the Irish dairy industry, which Dr. Stephen Butler, Teagasc Principal Research Officer in reproductive physiology, discussed during Teagasc Breeding Week.

One of the key advantages to sexed semen usage is that replacement heifer requirements could be met in the first three weeks of the breeding season. In addition, the use of sexed semen instead of conventional semen would diminish the number of male dairy calves, which have poor beef traits and low economic value.

Furthermore, genetic gain from EBI could be accelerated by selecting the best dams to breed replacement heifers. All dams that are not selected for breeding replacements should be inseminated with beef semen. This will not only help to increase the value of beef output from the dairy herd, but the superior quality attributes of beef-cross calves relative to male dairy calves is vital for a sustainable beef industry.

The use of this technology also means that dairy heifer rearing will be more streamlined, as all the female replacement animals will be born together, within a short window of time, at the start of the calving period.

Also read: Breeding quality calves for repeat custom in Co. Meath

Also read: The EBI: An Economic Breeding Index for the future