22 March 2002

Blues win fertility race

COWS served with straws of semen containing three beef breeds in an attempt to boost conception rates are mainly giving birth to just one of the breeds.

Genus, suppliers of Fertility Plus mixed sire straws for AI, says 55% of calves born have a Belgian Blue sire. It is said to be easy to determine the sire by colour in its most popular mix of Belgian Blue, Charolais and Limousin bulls semen.

This has been seen even though Belgian Blues as a breed can be less fertile than other beef breeds, says Genus Stuart Revell.

"We do not know exactly why Belgian Blues are winning the race. The Belgian Blue sperm cells may simply get to the cows egg first.

"Another possible reason is that some sperm remain viable for longer in the cows reproductive tract to fertilise the egg." &#42