The benefits of sexed semen are being realised on farms all over Ireland at the moment. Why would dairy farmers stick with conventional semen?

Where once there were sheds full of lower value dairy bull calves, now there are sheds full of beef cross calves and replacement heifer calves, all born before St Valentine’s Day.

Previously we had St Patrick’s Day as a target cut-off for heifer calves.

In theory, there should be higher demand for the beef-bred calf. The farmer has covered the upfront cost of sexed semen. The reward or return for the farmer should come in calves moving faster off the farm, or a better return when eventually the animal goes to market.

Stocking rate

The lower stocking rate cap will mean dairy farmers in general need less dairy replacements. There will be more dairy beef bred calves on farms.

The AI industry in Ireland will evolve as a result. Beef bulls will be a bigger part of the business for them. Interestingly, this dairy beef bred calf is rather unique in Europe.

The international studs seem to be amalgamating by the day. Just this month we learned Synetics UK, what was called Mastergen, has been transformed.

Now the German parent company Masterrind and the French genetics giant Innoval/Evolution are called Synetics, and it trades over eight million doses of semen across 80 countries.

In contrast, our four main studs – Dovea, Munster, Progressive and Eurogene trade about two million doses of semen between them.