Delivering on a Promise
We tried it, we liked it, and we’ll continue to use it…
For as long as Select Sires has been in business, the promise of sexed semen was just around the corner. At times, sexed semen seemed like a reality and at other times a technology that would never materialize. The promise of more heifers was enough to keep the fire lit and researchers, including those at Select Sires, driving toward the goal.
After years of research and testing, Select Sires has delivered on the promise of sexed semen under the brand name gender SELECTed™. As the first major A.I. company in North America to release sexed semen, it is our commitment to provide full disclosure of the product’s successes and shortcomings. This information can be used by producers to determine if gender SELECTed semen is right for their dairy operation.
Research has consistently proven the technology used at Select Sires can sex-sort sperm with at least 90 percent purity. A major limitation to commercialization of this technology has been the compromised conception rates obtained with sexed semen, which typically run 70 to 75 percent of that achieved with conventional semen. Although this issue still exists, most producers who pay strict attention to the details of semen handling and timing of inseminations in well-managed virgin heifers are usually pleased with the results.
All things considered, the following producers have experienced success and see gender SELECTed semen as a technology that gives them a clear-cut advantage.
gender SELECTed Semen
Worth the Investment
"We've been interested in sexed semen for our Jersey herd since we heard about it years ago," says Ron Kutz, owner of Kutz Dairy LLC, Jefferson, Wis. "We couldn't wait to try it."
Kutz currently milks 850 Jersey cows and has approximately 200 breeding-age heifers. He will be the first to tell you that Jersey bull calves aren't worth much, so the advantages of using gender SELECTed semen is worth the cost. On his trial run with the product, the results were poor. Those results didn't deter him and Kutz has since used three more gender SELECTed sires.
"7JE576 O.F. Montana SAWYER-ET worked great and our conception rate is very acceptable," says Kutz. "I'm currently using 9JE202 O.F. Barber ROCKET and 7JE613 Blackys BIG TIME-ET, and can't wait for additional sires to become available."
East Central Select Sires A.I. technician, Steve Kacuba, Beaver Dam, Wis., tail chalks all the heifers and watches for visual signs of heat. On the first two services, Steve breeds the heifers with gender SELECTed semen and any further services uses conventional semen. The gender SELECTed bulls are run through the American Jersey Cattle Association’s mating program, Jersey Mate™, or the SMS program to determine the best mating.
"We don't like buying cattle from multiple herds and trying to transition them to our management style," says Kutz. "We'd prefer to breed, raise and milk our own replacements and gender SELECTed semen is helping us do just that."
gender SELECTed semen is receiving positive results around the country. Well-managed herds that pay close attention to semen handling and heat detection in virgin heifers are reaping the benefits of more heifer calves. If you’re interested in using gender SELECTed semen in your herd, contact your Select Sires representative for a complete list of sires and suggestions on how to use this emerging technology.