Sexcel – the technology that excels for the Thompson’s Holstein herd

Harry and David Thompson with some of the Sexcel calves
Harry and David Thompson with some of the Sexcel calves

Henry Thompson farms near Randalstown in partnership with his two sons, Harry and David.

They currently manage 300 Holstein cows averaging 9000lts, with a butterfat of 4.38 and protein of 3.48.

With a passion for dairying and a drive to improve, the Thompson family decided to change the way that they bred their cows, so 12 months ago they moved to a full Sexcel and beef strategy.

Fast forward to today and the herd is now realising the full benefit of the switch, with Holstein heifer calves and British Blue calves being born at a steady rate.

Henry had previously used semen created with the original sexed semen technology when he wanted to increase heifer production. But over the last year he has availed of Sexcel sexed semen (exclusively available from Genus ABS), which was introduced to the UK market in 2017.

“I was keen to try Sexcel to minimise the number of low value Holstein bull calves using the very latest technology available.

“ I started using it in October 2018 and have been extremely pleased with the results. The conception rates have improved in comparison with what we were achieving with conventional semen,” Henry commented.

Although the beef income will be important, the British Blue sires are selected to ensure that the cows calve down successfully and start milking well, so particular attention is paid to calving ease when selecting beef bulls.

Gareth Bell, Genus ABS, who works closely with Henry and his sons said: “We are aiming to create cows that are well balanced with a willingness to produce high volumes of milk. PLI is followed closely and with Genus having 46 of the top 100 PLI sires, there are lots of options when it comes to choosing sires suitable for the herd.”

The Thompson herd also uses Genus ABS to help with the day to day management of the herd, through the ABS Partner programme. Action lists are created on a weekly basis to aid with dry offs and also any fertility work carried out. These reports are then used to monitor the herd’s reproductive performance and highlight any areas that need attention.

“The management reports have helped us become more structured in our approach to fertility. We can see the benefits of the improvements we have made, including increasing the herd’s overall conception rate and reducing the calving interval,” said Harry.

For more information on Sexcel or other Genus ABS products, contact your local Genus ABS representative or the office on 028 38 334426.