“Our sales of sexed semen have doubled over the past three years. Dairy producers are now happy to use sexed bulls on heifers and cows,” added the company’s director of breeding services, Ivan Minford.
“Sexed semen offers dairy farmers the widest range of breeding options. Initially, it circumvents the question of the production of dairy bulls, the market value of which is very low.
“It’s also an approach to breeding that allows more beef semen to be used within a herd. In turn, this adds considerably to the value of the calves that will be sold off-farm.
“But the fundamental driver of wanting to use sexed dairy semen in the first place also remains in place: the use of technology enables dairy farmers to produce the high-quality heifer replacements they need from the fewest number cows possible.”
According to Ivan, a £75 investment in sexed semen will invariably result in a heifer worth between £300 and £500 on the day of its birth. These figures are based on the empirical statement that it takes, on average, 1.8 to 2.4 straws of sexed sperm to create a pregnancy.
Reflecting on the current reproductive performance of dairy cows on farms in Northern Ireland, the Ai Services representative confirmed that the benefits of the excellent grass growing year that was 2021 are still evident.
He explained, “Cows that calved in the fall were kept on good grass throughout the late summer. As a result, they calved in good condition and subsequently achieved excellent results in the milking parlour.
“More and more dairy farmers are now blocking cow calvings in early fall to maximize the value of the winter premiums offered by all milk buyers.
“But it’s extremely important that these breeders get their cows pregnant between 60 and 100 days after calving.
“The latest indications are that conception rates have been very high over the past few weeks, with cows recovering well to calf.
“It reflects the excellent management standards achieved on so many dairy farms across Northern Ireland.”
According to Ivan, an increasing number of dairy farmers are now synchronizing their heifers.
He commented: “It’s an approach that allows them to give birth to these animals in a relatively short period of time. Again, sexed semen can be used very effectively in a synchronization program. It also makes sense to use a technician in these circumstances.
“Initially, it takes a lot of pressure off the breeder, if a large number of animals have to be inseminated at the same time. And, of course, the improved design rates obtained by technicians will more than pay for the extra costs incurred. »
Ivan confirmed the growing demand for bulls with improved components and improved management traits including: daughter fertility and longevity.
In early February, Ai Services added a number of exciting new bulls to the company’s dairy bull roster.
These include Peak Altaazura; Peak Alta Rescue and Peak Alta Wheelhouse.
Altaazura has an exceptionally high PLI value of £936, providing an additional 99.7 kg of combined fat and protein per lactation. It is recommended for improving chest and body strength. Altaazura daughters have excellent croup width and extra sloping croup. It is positive for all management traits.
Rescue combines type, production, and health stats into one package. Rescue lowers the stature but increases the width of the chest and rump. The daughters will be predominantly black in color with excellent udders. Rescue is also recommended as a calving ease sire.
Peak Alta Wheelhouse produces strong, hardy daughters. They have excellent croup with lower pin settings. Wheelhouse is a top-level production and type bull in one package. It is recommended to increase the fertility and longevity of girls.
For more information, contact Ai Services (Northern Ireland) Ltd on 028 9083 3123 or visit the company’s website: www.ai-services.co.uk