Global livestock semen sorting leader and innovator Sexing Technologies® (ST) has successfully launched a second semen sorting lab in India.
The laboratory, which began sorting semen on Feb. 27, was officially inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Mr. Trivendra Singh Rawat during a ceremony on March 7. Representatives of Uttarakhand Livestock Development Board (ULDB) and ST signed a memorandum of understanding in August 2018 outlining creation of semen sorting labs in India. ST’s first semen sorting lab in India, opened in association with BAIF at Pune, began semen sorting operations in September 2018.
The ULDB – ST semen sorting project is the first semen sorting laboratory under the Rashtriya Gokul Mission (RGM) of the Govt of India (GOI). Production of sex sorted semen is a major step toward increasing the number of heifer calves born through artificial insemination (A.I.) with the goal of significantly enhancing milk production, boosting rural economies and increasing the income of dairy producing farmers. Using sex sorted semen further benefits farmers and the local economy by greatly reducing the number of unwanted male calves being born.
The newest laboratory has already started sorting semen from various breeds of cattle and buffaloes and has achieved more than 92 percent female purity. ST’s sex sorting method separates X chromosome (female) sperm from Y chromosome (male) sperm through a process called flowcytometry. The process also removes dead and dying sperm, making the remaining sex sorted semen highly viable and fertile.
The ceremony was organized at Shyampur, Rishikesh by ULDB and featured a number of governmental leaders in addition to Mr. Rawat, including Minister of Animal Husbandry. Mrs Rekha Arya, Member of Parliament Mr. Ramesh Pokhriyal, Deputy Chairman ULDB Dr. Vinod Arya, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Mr. Premchand Agarwal, Secretary of Animal Husbandry Dr. R Meenakshi Sundaram, ULDB CEO Dr. M. S. Nayal, Director of Animal Husbandry Dr. K. K. Joshi and several other dignitaries, leaders of local bodies and more than 400 delegates.
The Chief Minister emphasized that sex sorted semen will increase the number of cows and milk production significantly, boost the rural economy and double the income of the farmers, which will help realize Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision for increased rural prosperity. Use of female sex sorted semen will also
reduce the number of unwanted male calves that consume valuable local resources because cow slaughter is banned in the state, as in many other states in India.
Mrs. Rekha Arya, the Minister for Animal Husbandry, said the ULDB deep frozen semen production center at Shyampur, Rishikesh, is currently supplying frozen semen to 15 states in India and the new sorting laboratory will be able to supply sexed semen to other states as well. She also emphasized the need to provide more information to educate farmers about sex sorted semen technology and its benefits.
Secretary of Animal Husbandry Dr. R. Meenakshi Sundaram said he was proud Uttarakhand was selected as the first state for the sex sorted semen project under the National Mission for Bovine Productivity of the Govt of India.
“This is a historic moment and great achievement for ULDB by completing the project one day ahead of the deadline of 28 February 2019,” Dr. Sundaram said. “We have selected Sexing Technologies because ST is the only company that has been in the business for long time with proven results in conception rate and sex-ratio of 90 percent female calves born. We have also used ST’s sexed semen imported from the USA and had excellent results,” said Dr. Puneet Kumar Bhatt, project coordinator for the sex sorting project at ULDB.
Juan Moreno, CEO of Sexing Technologies, said the new sorting laboratory is “an important milestone and expansion of ST’s operation in India. India is the world’s largest milk producing country, with a fast-growing demand for milk and milk products, and where ST’s technology can have significant impact on improving genetics and enhancing milk production. We believe the new laboratory at Rishikesh will be a source for sex sorted semen from genetically superior bulls of indigenous breeds of cattle, Holstein, Jersey, crossbreds and buffaloes to Uttarakhand and other states in India. Our partnership with ULDB will help to transform the livelihood of many dairy farmers in India and make this a very gratifying venture for us.”
“The latest SexedULTRA®’ technology invented and improved by ST, is already proven all over the world with consistent results in providing greater than 90 percent female calves with conception rates similar to that of conventional semen under similar conditions,” said Dr. Prakash Kalarickal, ST’s VP Business Development for Asia. “The technology is also proven for sex sorting semen from indigenous breeds of cattle and buffaloes, which has immense value in India.
Use of sexed semen will also help to accelerate genetic progress and reduce wastage of animals and genetics through male calves. Sorted semen has other added benefits of improving cow comfort and animal welfare. Cows suffer fewer calving and post calving complications when delivering heifer calves, which reduces potential economic losses to farmers”.
ST began sorting semen commercially in 2004 at its headquarters facility in Navasota, Texas. The company now has 9 sorting labs across the U.S.A and 15 sorting facilities in 13 different countries, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, France (2 labs), Germany, Italy, New Zealand, South Korea, Switzerland, The Netherlands, United Kingdom and India (2 labs).
During the past 14 years, ST has produced more than 70 million straws of sexed semen from exotic breeds including Holstein, Jersey and Brown Swiss. The company has also produced more than one million straws of sexed semen from indigenous breeds like Gir, Sahiwal, Guzera (Kankrej), Red Sindhi, Nelore, Tharparkar, Rathi and Brahman, and from different breeds of buffaloes such as Murrah and Jaffrabadi.