New sexed semen product to attract interest from dairy farmers and beef producers in Australia


Dairy
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Dairy farmers and beef producers will be able to use a new sexed semen product to build numbers of females in their herds.

ABS Australia sees its new sexed semen product Sexcel offering gains for both the beef and dairy industries.

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The company’s general manager Australia and New Zealand James Smallwood said Sexcel had already been launched in a number of markets globally and customers had “embraced the technology wholeheartedly”.

"We have seen demand for the product outstripping even our wildest expectations," he said.

For dairy farmers, the product promises more heifer calves from the highest genetic merit animals in the herd, as it is recommended for use on maiden heifers.

This provides the opportunity to either retain heifers for herd building or to sell excess heifers either to other farmers or for export.

It also means fewer male calves, which are an increasing animal welfare concern.

Higher numbers of heifers also provide the option for farmers to put beef across their older or lower performing cows, providing an additional income stream.

Mr Smallwood said ABS had been an earlier adopter of genomic technology, in which breeding values were calculated from the results of a DNA test, particularly in having its genetics tested on the Australian system.

“So we could identify elite genetics that worked well in the Australian market,” he said.

”These superior genetics are now available in sexed semen in Sexcel, so will allow faster gain.”

ABS’s beef key account manager southern region Fletch Kelly said sexed semen also offered opportunities to beef producers.

Strong beef prices in the past 12-18 months had seen many beef producers take the opportunity to offload older lines of cows.

Sexed semen offered these producers a means to quickly rebuild their maternal lines.

Although demand would not be as strong as in the dairy industry, Mr Kelly said he expected to see demand for bulls with strong maternal traits such as Angus sire Te Mania Emperor. 

Seed stock producers might want to produce a strong female line from that bull.

Mr Kelly said ABS planned to launch a special beef semen product for dairy farmers later this year.

Each straw of Dairy InFocus contained semen from three different Angus bulls.

These were selected for their positive traits for the dairy cow, such as fertility, shorter gestation and increased calving ease, and their positive traits for producing an efficient beef animal, such as health, growth rate, feed efficiency and carcase merit.

The beef animals could be turned off earlier than a Holstein and had a higher percentage of Angus-certified prime cuts.

Mr Kelly said the product had been successful in the United States.

It would allow dairy farmers to sell young calves to beef producers at a premium to the price paid for Holstein calves or to rear the beef calves for an additional income stream.

ABS plans to run trials of the product in NSW with a feedlotter and meat processor.

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