Cow scans highlight Advantage AI issues
Semen straws sold at premium fail to deliver expected female calf numbers
The National Cattle Breeding Centre (NCBC) has been left red-faced by the failure of a large amount of their Female Advantage semen to deliver on its promise of extra female calves for farmers.
Preliminary scanning results suggest that up to 40,000 of the specially treated straws sold to farmers at a premium last spring have failed to deliver any bias whatsoever towards female calves.
This is based on an NCBC estimate that up to 40pc of the 100,000 Advantage straws that it sold this year were processed incorrectly. The straws were sold by both Progressive Genetics and Munster AI, who are joint shareholders in NCBC.
It has emerged that a decision to short-circuit the process required to analyse the semen was the cause of problem. As a result, much of the Advantage semen sold to farmers after an unspecified date last spring did not deliver any extra female calves compared to the national average.
Thousands of farmers will now have a legitimate cause for complaint after shelling out an estimated €240,000 premium for the Advantage semen.
The Advantage semen project is a three-year-old joint venture between NCBC and Boston-based company Arex Life Sciences.
It is estimated that over 100,000 Advantage semen straws from 28 of Ireland's highest-ranking bulls were sold across the country last spring.
At a premium of €6 over untreated straws, the product netted both Progressive Genetics and Munster AI over €500,000 in extra sales revenues.