Dairy industry urged to revisit sexed semen
There must be an opportunity to address the lack of sexed semen in use, said chief operations officer at ABP Finbarr McDonnell.
Mr McDonnell said he believes there is a role there for sexed semen.
“There must be an opportunity in the industry to do something with sexed semen, it was looked at and it faded away, but I think it will come back,” he said.
The ICBF’s Dr Andrew Cromie predicted that sexed semen will kick in sometime in the next five to six years.
Teagasc’s Padraig French said if “sexed semen takes off”, there could be over a million beef X dairy calves.
Mr McDonnell, who launched new trial research showing an improved margin of €150 to €200 depending on the beef sire selected for dairy crosses, said market triggers will eventually influence dairy farmers to choose sires delivering good conformation for beef production.
“It will be like turning the Titanic, but why did they turn to Angus and Hereford?” he questioned. “Because they saw that the calf is going to be worth more money and they will have a market.
“I hate talking about the alternative but the alternative is Friesian calves, which are an animal welfare problem,” he said.