Milk price, forage yields and concentrate feed prices are very often the major talking points with farmers.
However, the ability to maximize milk yields through great fertility results whilst also minimizing the number of Holstein bull calves would surely be a great topic of conversation for any dairy farmer.
Twelve years ago, the McRoberts family, who run a 250 cow herd at Blackskull ,Co. Down alongside a large agricultural contracting business, decided to look more closely at the fertility in their herd and how it might be improved.
The result was that they decided to join Genus ABS’ Reproductive Management System (RMS). The ability to have all the cows AI bred was a boost to the business, so much so that three years ago they decided to push a little further and use only sexed Holstein genetics alongside a beef programme.
Thomas McRoberts felt that the decreasing value of Holstein bulls calves would be an ongoing issue and that they would try to maximise calf value with the implementation of quality Aberdeen Angus sires into the mix.
This decision proved to be a good fit for the farm and when Genus ABS launched its own sexing technology two years ago the results got even better.
Sexcel harnesses Genus ABS best genetics and is produced through a novel, proprietary technology for sexing bovine semen. This innovative technology does not subject the cells to the high pressures, electric currents and shear forces used to produce the sexed semen historically available to farmers. The result has been that the superior sexed genetics product has helped customers maximize their profitability in line with their individual economic herd goals.
Genus ABS have concentrated on developing a product with superior fertility. Gender skew rates as expected have been similar to other sexed products. Before Sexcel was brought to the marketplace it was rigorously tested in multiple environments. Data from ABS Global’s Real World Database sourced from 37 million cows worldwide demonstrates that Sexcel achieves a 90 percent relative conception rate when compared to conventional semen and a higher conception rate than other sexed semen used by dairy farmers.
The McRoberts farm now does not use any conventional Holstein semen – it is all Sexcel semen and Aberdeen Angus beef semen.
The aim is to have enough dairy heifers to maintain the herd, along with top notch Aberdeen Angus calves which are finished on farm and sold through the Aberdeen Angus scheme in conjunction with Foyle Meats.
Thomas remarked:“The added value of these finished Aberdeen Angus calves is a real boost to cashflow especially during periods of lower milk prices.” Thomas explained: “The difference between using conventional semen and Sexcel has been minimal. We still have been able to achieve a 21-day Pregnancy rate of 22% but without the production of low value Holstein bull calves.
“We discuss what animals are to be served using Sexcel along with the RMS technician to make sure that we are getting replacement heifers out of our best animals, while the quality Aberdeen Angus semen means I have crops of beef cattle which meet the high specifications of the Aberdeen Angus scheme.”
Simon Logan, RMS Manager with Genus ABS outlines the advantages. “Improved heat detection and increased pregnancy rates are the first aspects that farmers on Genus ABS’ Reproductive Management System (RMS) notice. This service involves a highly trained technician walking the cows every day, chalking and inseminating them but also using the comprehensive herd information to make more informed decisions.
“Couple these benefits with the use of the best Sexing technology on the market and it just makes great sense.”
For more information on Sexcel or the RMS system please contact your local Genus ABS representative or the office on 028 38 334426.