Teagasc to lead semen trial
Details are expected to be finalised today on one of the largest semen trials ever under-taken in Ireland.
Teagasc researchers Stephen Butler and Ian Hutchinson are heading up a €1m project with ICBF and US-based Sexing Technologies to establish the viability of using fresh-sexed semen.
More than 26,000 units of semen will be analysed for the trial, which is expected to be rolled out to more than 300 dairy herds and 100 beef herds from April 20.
Farmers will receive letters in the post this week outlining the conditions for participating in the trial.
It aims to replicate a similar trial conducted in New Zealand in 2011.
It found that conception rates for fresh-sexed semen were on par with that of conventional non-sexed semen.
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.
Interested farmers will be required to sign up with ICBF in the same way that herds sign up for the GeneIreland programme.