Breeding companies reported a substantial increase in the adoption of sexed dairy semen over the past 12 months.
Figures collated by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) have shown that in the year to end March, sales of sexed semen increased to 76.5% of all dairy semen, marking a notable surge from 70% in 2022. Just 10 years ago, the figure was just 14.4%.
The Holstein breed remains the most popular choice, representing just under 78% of dairy sales. The survey also indicated that beef semen sales to the dairy herd have risen to 49%, up 1% on last year.
Marco Winters, head of animal genetics at AHDB, said: “We expect that the increased confidence among farmers in choosing sexed semen will continue to drive the upward trajectory we are witnessing.”
“This is great news,” added Winters, “as farmers are becoming more empowered to make targeted breeding decisions by only breeding replacement from their best females, aided by tools such as AHDB’s herd genetic report.”
Nic Parsons, AHDB’s head of dairy engagement, added: “The rise in the use of sexed dairy and beef semen is an encouraging development demonstrating the industry’s continued focus on promoting the Dairy Calf Strategy priorities.
“Farmers are actively contributing to the objectives outlined in the AHDB and NFU’s national dairy calf strategy, by decreasing the number of purebred dairy male calves entering the British beef supply chain.”