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HomeBeef‘This mating will offer buyers the bonus of a heifer calf’
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘This mating will offer buyers the bonus of a heifer calf’

Progressive County Antrim farmer, James Alexander, has joined forces with Cogent UK in a “ground-breaking” alliance involving extensive use of Sexed Ultra 4M to maximise the genetic potential of breeding stock within his Jalex enterprise.

The Alexanders have built up a solid reputation for being the ‘one-stop shop’ for sourcing commercial heifers to suit all management systems.

They play host to on-farm sales several times each year and accommodates direct sales from regular buyers.

James is adamant that the availability of information is “key to success”, with all of his heifers catalogued for his forthcoming sale accompanied by details such as breeding information for the heifer, service details, sex of calf, calving date as well as all relevant health and vaccination.

Twemlows Officer

He has utilised sexed straws of Twemlows Officer on a large number of the Jalex Select heifers forward for sale on October 22nd, 2022.

He boasts positive EBVs for both gestation length and calving ease, with a pedigree that James outlined is “packed full of calving ease credentials and calf quality”.

His pedigree stack features bulls, including Haltcliffe Vermount, Ampertaine Commander, and Glenrock Ventura.

Officer also models “exceptional” length and width over his loin coupled with easy fleshing ability and carries two copies of the F94L myostatin gene.

James remarked: “This mating will offer buyers not only the bonus of a heifer calf but also the opportunity to tap into proven genetics, raising the quality whether they plan to retain the calf as a replacement or sell at weaning.”

This regime is an investment for the Jalex team; however, James feels that it is “well justified” as it gives his buyers a “desirable heifer calf that will be easy calved and quick to get on its feet and suckle”.

Sexed straws

He researched what sexed Limousin straws were available to him and was impressed by the SexedULTRA 4M technology which Cogen offers.

“The beauty of this semen is that it includes four million sex-sorted sperm cells per straw, compared to the previous 2 million, resulting in a dramatically improved conception rate.”

“Given the sheer number of heifers that are inseminated each year on our farm, I was swayed by the efficiencies that the Cogent straws were able to provide due to the enhanced conception rates.”

“Over 60 of the heifers included in the Jalex Select Sale will be calving in January, mostly with heifer calves on board, making the selection process for buyers simple.”

“They are able to scan down the catalogue and select a batch of replacements to suit their system, and in a tight calving pattern.”

Cogent has been a pioneer of sexed semen technology since its inception in 2001, becoming what is understood to be the first breeding company in the world to offer sexed semen commercially.

With the continuous pursuit of improvement, the genetics company has achieved a lift in conception rates of 14% when comparing this new product to the original XY-sexed semen.

Although the technology for sorting sperm has not changed, the company has improved the product from its original form with the application of various new techniques, including world-leading quality controls and an exclusive freezing technique underpinned by years of on-farm experience.

Cogent comments 

Northern Ireland area manager, Ashley Fleming, commented:

“Having visited the Alexander farm several times and seeing for myself, the superior level of quality stock that James is producing, it is very exciting to partner with him in terms of his breeding programme using the SexedULTRA 4M semen.”

“Cogent is continually reviewing and improving their technologies in terms of sexed straws and conception rates, and continues to be market-leading in this field.”

“We wish James every success with his forthcoming sale and look forward to our continued alliance as he continues to source the finest genetics through Cogent UK.”

The Jalex Select Sale of 120 heifers takes place on Saturday, October 22nd  at 12.30 pm on-farm at 88 Gloverstown Road, Randalstown.

James Little from H&H Auctioneers will be in the rostrum once again.

According to the auctioneer, export can be arranged to the UK for prospective buyers.

Viewing is welcome pre-sale by contacting James Alexander. The full catalogue is available to view on and also on

See more farming news from Northern Ireland.

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