Backing sought for trial of new sexed semen technology
Plans are advancing to roll out a massive 15,000 cow trial of the latest sexed semen technology next spring.
The proposed project was outlined to industry stakeholders at an ICBF board meeting last week. The trial aims to replicate a similar trial that was conducted in New Zealand last year.
It found that conception rates for fresh sexed semen was on par with that of conventional non-sexed semen.
The proposal would see Teagasc's Stephen Butler co-ordinating the research analysis on hundreds of individual dairy and beef herds. It is hoped that 16,000 doses of dairy semen and 8,000 doses of beef semen would be used in the research.
While there have been a number of attempts by AI companies to develop a market for sexed semen here in the past, most failed due to poor conception rates experienced with the technology at farm level.
However, ICBF geneticist Andrew Cromie says that new technologies being developed by companies such as the US-based Sexing Technologies have the potential to solve these poor conception-rate issues.
Farmers have long anticipated a sexing technology that would allow them to produce female-only calves from dairy sires and male-only from their beef sires. If successful, the technology offers a solution to the problem of poor conformation bull calves from the dairy herd.
Meetings are ongoing with dairy and meat industry processors and the Department of Agriculture in an effort to source approximately €800,000 of funding to allow the project to proceed.