Tuesday, 22 January 2019 06:55

Fresh is best semen trial finds

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Frozen semen straws in liquid nitrogen. Frozen semen straws in liquid nitrogen.

A field trial using frozen sexed semen didn’t produce the desired results, says LIC.

LIC genetics business manager Greg Hamill says results mean the company recommends farmers use liquid sexed semen.

The blind trial in spring 2017 consisted of nearly 100 farmers and at least 12,000 straws -- sexed and conventional.

The results clearly showed a still substantial difference between sexed and conventional frozen semen: the sexed semen was, on average, 13.3 % down on non-return rates (NRR) compared to standard conventional straws. NRR refers to the proportion of cows not subsequently re-bred within a specified time after an insemination.

With getting cows in calf being one of the most important aspects of dairy farmers’ seasonal focus, the reproductive implications of a reduction in NRR by 13.3% is significant, says Hamill.

“These cows would remain in the dry paddock for at least three more weeks. The reduction in the reproductive performance among the herd may be too great for most farmers contemplating using frozen sexed semen.”

LIC ran the frozen sexed semen trial with Sexing Technologies, the only supplier of sexed semen in New Zealand, using multi-head technology that allows it to sort semen faster and up to four million cells per straw.

Hamill says improvements in the technology of sexing semen are well documented and there was a good deal of anticipation and excitement about what the trial results would show.

LIC had hoped to see the technological improvements reflected in better NRR for dairy farmers. Using sexed semen for breeding has advantages. For many years dairy farmers have been excited about the possibility of using sexed semen to drive genetic gain within their herds, says Hamill.

“This makes sense, because it enables farmer to get more heifer calves from their top performing animals.”

The above factors were key drivers behind LIC’s desire to participate in the trial with Sexing Technologies.”


More like this

Pastoral focus keeps LIC on track

LIC chief executive Wayne McNee says the co-op remains well placed in the face of mergers of global dairy genetics and herd improvement companies.

Heat detection with no tail paint

The latest device from the Irish maker, Moocall Heat, monitors cows for heat detection, centering on a collar worn by the bull to detect his activity as he moves through the herd. 

Innovation to underpin LIC’s growth

The future growth and sustainability of the New Zealand dairy industry will be underpinned by innovation and investment in research and development (R&D). 


» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Pull your heads in

The Hound was disappointed but not surprised to see the multi-national, tax-dodging environmental group Greenpeace have another crack at NZers…

Unfortunate timing

Your old mate reckons Fonterra is not the only dairy company in NZ now under pressure.


» Connect with Rural News