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HomeBeefSexed semen use in UK rises to 76.5%
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnanehttps://www.thatsfarming.com/
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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Sexed semen use in UK rises to 76.5%

There has been a “substantial” increase in the adoption of sexed dairy semen, surpassing previous years’ figures in the UK, according to a new AHDB-led survey, writes farming journalist, Catherina Cunnane.

The data collated over the 12 months leading up to March 2023 shows that sales of sexed semen increased to 76.5% of all dairy semen, marking a notable surge from 70% in 2022.

The Holstein breed remains the most popular choice, representing just over 77.9% of dairy sales.

Meanwhile, the survey also indicates that beef semen sales to the dairy herd have risen to 49%, up from 48% of total sales in 2022.

The preferred breeds for this purpose continue to be the British Blue and Aberdeen Angus, followed closely by the Limousin and Hereford breeds.

According to the body, there has also been a “significant” rise in the popularity of the Wagyu breed, which is gaining traction in the market.

Sexed semen use in the UK

Marco Winters, Head of Animal Genetics, AHDB, said:

“We expect that the increased confidence among farmers in choosing sexed semen will continue to drive the upward trajectory we are witnessing.”

“This is great news, as farmers are becoming more empowered to make targeted breeding decisions by only breeding replacements from their best females, aided by tools such as AHDB’s herd genetic report.”

Nic Parsons, head of dairy engagement, AHDB, added:

“The rise in the use of sexed dairy and beef semen is an encouraging development demonstrating the industry’s continued focus on promoting the Dairy Calf Strategy priorities.”

“Farmers are actively contributing to the objectives outlined in AHDB and NFU’s national dairy calf strategy, by decreasing the number of purebred dairy male calves entering the British beef supply chain,” Parsons added.

Promoting better breeding tools and techniques such as the use of sexed semen is listed as one of the short-term deliverable actions in the GB Dairy Calf Strategy 2020-2023.

Under the plan’s innovation and supporting R&D section, it states researching best practice to optimise the cost-efficiency of sexed semen, co-ordinates by government, as a medium-term deliverable action within a 2-4-year timeframe.

The aim is to “encourage responsible breeding strategies through farm assurance” and “breed calves that are economically attractive to potential beef buyers/rearers”.

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