BIF 2019: Economic Impact of Sex Sorted Semen

George Perry
South Dakota State University
NAAB Symposium

Assume that a cow breeds 30 cows per year for 4 years. Regardless of the year, bull price per calf sired was higher than the cost of semen.

We could have different bulls for different groups of cows. Bulls for heifers, bulls for maternal calves, and bulls for terminal calves. Consider breeding a calving ease bull to mature cows- you are giving up additional growth with that mating.

Sexed semen causes the differences in sexes of the calves that we would expect to see. The number of bulls and heifers in a calf crop can be skewed even if we do one round of artificial insemination followed by natural service.

Perry's groups used 6 herds with 878 cows breed to 5 different bulls. They used conventional semen and sexed semen from each bull. Gender skewed semen had a pregnancy rate of 52.4% and conventional semen had a pregnancy rate of 67%. When cows have displayed estrus (been in heat) at time of AI, pregnancy rate was 69%. Cows that had not been in heat had a pregnancy rate of 49%.
If the cow had been in estrus, gender skewed semen had a 65% conception rate compared to 73% for conventional semen. However, for cows that had not been in heat, pregnancy rate for sexed semen was 33% and for conventional semen it was 56%. Gender skewed semen works in the right situation (cows that have displayed estrus).

Sexed semen can allow us to have 2 truck loads of steers to market, rather than 1 and 1/2 truck loads. This has an economic impact. Perry's group is continuing to work on the economic impact of gender skewed semen.

If you are going to use gender skewed semen, you need to know which cows have expressed estrus (been in heat) and which have not.

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