Using Sexed Semen in Your Herd

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The use of sexed semen in dairies across the country has continued to increase over the last several years, since its recent introduction into the market.

Talking with Kylene Anderson, Sorted Semen Marketing Specialist with ABS Global she says that there are several benefits to using sexed semen in your herd including creating 90% females, reducing the disease risk from purchased replacements and controlling the cost of replacements.

Anderson says that it’s important for producers to recognize that there are fundamental differences between sorted semen and conventional semen. The sorting process discards unknown cells and those of the undesired gender. This results in fewer live sperm cells available to be packaged in each straw of semen, about 20% less than conventional semen.

This lower sperm concentration can affect semen fertility. The sorting process can also compromise the ability of the sperm cells to impregnate animals. Anderson says it is essential for producers to follow the recommended protocols to maximize their results.

The following are the recommended protocols for using Sexed Semen.
• Use only on well grown, well managed virgin heifers
• Use on virgin heifers 12 hours after observed/expressed heats
• Carefully follow guidelines for semen thawing and handling
• Handle the straws the same as conventional straws.
• Handling and thawing standards are identical, however the margin for error is greatly reduced
• Conception rates will average 75 to 90 percent of conventional semen

Anderson notes that proper semen handling is extremely important, because you have fewer cells per straw.

Sexed semen is now offered by most major AI companies in the United States.