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New Zealand dairy farmers will next season have ready access to fresh sexed semen and embryos following successful on‐farm trials by breeding companies.
Thanks to an agreement between US‐based Sexing Technologies, AgResearch and the Waikato Innovation Park , the technology became available this season to artificial breeding and embryo companies to offer farmers fresh sorted semen and embryos for the first time in New Zealand.
Liberty Genetics and Animal Breeding Services (ABS) initiated a trial to evaluate the use of sexed semen in the dairy industry.
4600 inseminations were carried out in the 2009 spring mating period and further trial work is planned.
Results from the trial are promising and Liberty Genetics Managing Director, David Hayman, says, “Liberty is offering sexed semen as a commercial product this year as it is demonstrating real value providing farmers with cost efficient genetic gain.
"There have been valuable lessons learnt through the trial process, particularly with regards to what is required to achieve acceptable conception rates with sexed semen."
ABS is implementing the use of sexed semen in embryo production and can see several promising applications. The technology provides farmers with the opportunity to accelerate the rate of genetic advancement of their herds. Semen‐sexing technology gives farmers the ability to demand female semen from the best bulls for the top 25% of their herd and get enough replacements from the very best genetics.
The outcome of this being a heifer calf from a known sire X dam combination will contribute significantly to productivity and profitability. This also offers the ability to tighten the calf rearing period.
Marcelo Gil Stiaque of Sexing Technologies NZ explains that millions of straws of sexed semen have been use by dairy farmers around the world in the past two years.
“Improvements in the technology have resulted in increased conception rates and lower product prices,” he says.
“Sexing Technologies is committed to producing the highest quality product that will fulfil the expectations of New Zealand dairy farmers.”
Waikato Innovation Park CEO, Derek Fairweather, says, “The Park is proud to be facilitating the introduction of a technology that is going to add significant economic value to New Zealand’s agricultural industry.
“Over time, this technology has the potential to achieve genetic advancements that will transform dairy herds and help boost farmers’ productivity and profitability.”
The technology also has enormous potential for bull beef farming as well as New Zealand’s horse breeding industry, in particular Standardbreds, according to Dr Lee Morris of Equibreed.
“We have had very good results in a fertility trial this past season using fresh sex‐sorted semen and look forward to using sex‐sorted semen in our client mares in the upcoming season. “
"EquiBreed NZ Ltd and Sexing Technologies will continue to work together to make this technology readily available to the horse breeders in New Zealand.”
Dairy farmers looking to take advantage of sex sorted semen should inquire through their artificial breeding service provider.