17 June 1998
Livestock sex predetermination
trials in Cheshire
US technology is being used on a dairy herd in Chester in a bid to predetermine the sex of livestock offspring.
The trials are being carried out by Chester-based breeding company, Cogent, which is rapidly building up its herd to 1,200 cows.
The technique is based on pioneering science developed by XY Inc, of Colorado. Cogent hopes to discover whether the successful results achieved on ranch-style herds in the USA can be used on intensively managed herds in the UK.
In the USA, normal artificial techniques, using 20 million sperm per animal, achieved a 52% conception rate, while the sex-determined technique, using 300,000 sperms, achieved a 42% rate.
Tim Heywood, Cogent managing director, said the trials would use fresh semen on local herds before being extended to all 2,400 farming members of the firm using frozen product.
He said it meant dairymen could ensure rapid genetic progress by using their top cows or heifers to produce herd replacements, while the lower performers were crossed to produce beef-cross males.
- The Scotsman 17/06/98 page 28