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Working Ranch April/May 2016

The quickest way to improve your herd is through superior genetics. Depending on your operation, using sexed semen in an AI program will capture that value more directly because gender is the real driver of what you do with every calf you get. “There are two advantages of using sexed semen over using a bull,” explains Jim Hiney, Marketing Manager for Sexing Technologies, a bovine semen-sexing service provider based in Navasota, Texas. “The fi rst is that you can select a high accuracy, high genetic merit bull that has been proven based on a large amount of progeny data from many herds. The second and obvious reason is it gives Utilizing a sexed semen AI strategy might be a good way to improve the genetics of your cowherd. Need better replacements from your top cows? Not a problem. BY JAIME PULLMAN PHOTOS BY MELISSA BLASI you the opportunity to select the gender of the calves. Although there is not a large price differential between steers and heifers in beef like there is on the dairy side, there are many scenarios where there can be a big fi nancial advantage to choosing gender.” In the seed-stock industry there are many breeders who specialize in selling bulls or they specialize in selling heifers, given their geographic location or the type of program they have. “It is a major advantage for them if they can specify the sex of the progeny,” Hiney adds. “Even in the commercial sector there can be some real advantages such as if a producer wants to breed his top cows to a maternal-type bull sorted for females to get his replacement heifers and then use a terminal-type bull sorted for males to get his steer calves to go into the feedlot.” Sexing Technologies holds the patent on semen sexing technology that was fi rst developed by the USDA in the 1980s and, through aggressive research and development, has improved that technology to be much more cost effective and reliable. Artifi cial insemination, and utilizing sexed semen as an option, is often perceived to cost more than natural service. However, if you consider the wealth of genetic information we now have in terms of EPDs and the ability to use DNA marked trait selection, then couple that with gender 118 I WORKING RANCH I APRIL / MAY 2016


Working Ranch April/May 2016
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