Semen sexing has been taken to a new level of efficiency and accuracy thanks to an investment in the very latest sperm sorting technology by the UK’s largest stud, Cogent Breeding Ltd.
The new semen sexing machines and purpose-built quality control laboratory will enable dairy and beef farmers to improve the way they manage their herds’ breeding programmes and increase production capacity, resulting in a boost for farm profits.
In 2000, Cogent became the first bovine breeding company in the world to offer sexed semen to farmers on a commercial basis. In those early days, the technology was only 85% accurate, with limited production output.
Since then, an ongoing research and development programme has improved sexing accuracy rates to an average of 92%, with semen sorting at Cogent’s Beachin Stud near Chester becoming a 24 hours a day, seven days a week process to accommodate growing demand.
Innes Drummond, Cogent’s UK Operations Manager said: “Cogent sexed semen reliably produces in excess of 90% female calves, with conception rates that are approaching that of conventional semen. We offer the most robust and successful product available anywhere in the world, but that hasn’t stopped us from investing in the latest technologies to improve our product even further. The new machines are a huge improvement in terms of optical clarity, sorting accuracy and finished product quality.”
Despite the improved production efficiency of the new machines, Mr Drummond stresses that Cogent will continue to focus on quality rather than quantity.
“We ensure that every single straw of semen sexed or conventional meets or exceeds our industry-leading quality standards. We perform a total of seven different tests for sperm functional ability/viability and continue to use an exclusive freezing technique to ensure that our customers receive only the very best product.”
Mike Phillips, Cogent’s UK Sales Manager said: “Cogent’s investment in the new machines will be a great benefit to our customers. Using sexed semen not only ensures adequate numbers of dairy replacements but also frees up more dairy cows to breed high quality, high value commercial beef calves. At a time when farm profits are once again coming under severe pressure from falling milk prices and a depressed beef market, anything that can improve the efficiency and viability of our customers’ businesses is not only good for us, but also good for them.”