What is sexed semen in cattle?

Sexed semen in Intelligen lab

Before sexed semen, farmers would artificially inseminate a cow or heifer using conventional semen. Conventional semen is regular semen, which offers a 50/50 chance of breeding a male or female offspring.

In recent years, farmers have moved more towards using sexed semen. This is semen collected from the bulls and further processed in a lab to remove as many ‘Y’ chromosomes as possible.

When it comes to genetics, the offspring of the calf is determined by the chromosomes carried. The ‘X’ chromosome will result in a female, and the ‘Y’ chromosome will create a male.

By processing semen and reducing the percentage of ‘Y’ chromosomes, there is an increased chance of female offspring for the dairy farmer.

Typically, a dairy farmer will want to breed more heifer replacements from their best cows, and the male offspring will not typically hold much value, causing a strain on the farmer’s profits.

Sexed semen is used to allow the farmer more control over the offspring they produce.

Sexed genetics calves with their farmer and breeding advisor

How is sexed semen processed?

When processing semen, the ‘X’ and ‘Y’ chromosomes are separated by determining their size or DNA content. Female chromosomes are larger and contain 3.8% more DNA than male ones.

A laser is used to reduce the percentage of ‘Y’ chromosomes present in the batch of semen. It is possible that some male chromosomes will remain, but the chances will be much slimmer after being processed.

Benefits of sexed bovine genetics:

  • The ability to grow a herd from within by producing replacement heifers from top females reduces biosecurity risks and takes out the uncertainty of buying from an external source.
  • Research shows cows delivering a female calf at both their first and second calvings produce approximately 981 pounds (445 kg) more milk over their first two lactations.
  • Females calves can lead to a significantly reduced risk of difficult calvings.
  • Rapid increase in genetic progress by pairing top genetic females to IntelliGen sexed genetics.

How fertile is sexed semen?

The fertility of sexed semen can vary, depending on the technology used to create it, and the processes taken by each varying genetics company. 

Genus ABS is proud to offer the most fertile sexed semen available on the market today, Sexcel® powered by IntelliGen® Technologies.

Sexcel® is continuously being improved by genetic specialists to optimise both its potential and impact on farm. Currently, the sexed semen sold by Genus ABS has a 90% relative conception rate, which is extremely high.

This has been proven by Genus ABS’ Real World Data®, the world’s largest dataset for collecting cow records worldwide. Our Real World Data is collected from the performance of real farms using our product.

Real World Data® has gathered data from over 3.2 million inseminations from across the globe. 60% of the data collected contains insemination data from other genetics companies, to ensure accuracy in results. Dairy farmers around the world have experienced increased milk production, and faster genetic progress through better replacement heifers.

How should Sexcel® be used?

When breeding the animals in your herd, you should always breed your highest genetic merit cows and heifers to sexed semen.

This is what Genus ABS call the Winning Game Plan. By doing this, you can ensure the genetic progress in your herd will continue to grow and flourish, whilst also generating the maximum amount of profit.

Interested in using sexed semen on your farm? Get in touch with your local representative today or visit our website for more information.