7 June 2002

Users cover wood flaws

Sexed semen to end need for dairy Xs?

SEXED semens influence will mean more beef x dairy bulls for the beef industry, but it could reduce the number of dairy cross replacements as its use increases on dairy cows.

Jim Hyslop, of ADAS, told a seminar at Beef 2002 that where female sexed semen is used, fewer Holstein cows are needed to produce replacements. "Milk producers will then use beef bulls on the remainder of their cows.

"This will increase the supply of beef x dairy heifers to be taken up as suckler herd replacements. But when male sexed semen from beef breeds becomes available milk producers will probably opt to produce higher value male calves sired by a beef bulls.

"This will reduce the number of beef x dairy heifers available as suckler replacements," said Dr Hyslop.

However, if in future female sexed beef semen becomes available, suckler herds could then become less reliant on the dairy sector for replacements. "This would allow it to produce beef cattle free from the poor conformation influence of the Holstein."

Use of male sexed semen on the suckler herd could also allow beef producers to use more semen from terminal sire bulls to produce higher value male calves.

"How that will impact on pushing the UK towards its ceiling on Beef Special Premium payments has yet to be seen. At the moment the ceiling is 1.46m claims. How quickly that is exceeded depends on how quickly male sexed semen from beef breeds becomes commercially available?

"Higher income generated from using male sexed beef semen in suckler herds would come from the production of more higher value calves and the extra income from more BSP payments."

Dr Hyslop estimated the cost of male sexed semen would be about £28/straw.