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Did you know: More beef semen on dairies

Holly Spangler bull
BULL: Technology has increased the popularity of artificial insemination, but what has driven the incline of beef semen sales? Beef on dairy.
In general, semen sales have increased, but more beef semen is being used on dairy operations than beef operations in the U.S.

Not a surprise: More farmers and ranchers are using artificial insemination than ever before.

Surprise: More beef semen gets sold in the U.S. to breed dairy cows than to breed beef cows.

Semen sales are up exponentially across both dairy and beef sectors over the past 20 years, with annual dairy semen sales going from 20 million to 50 million units, and beef semen sales going from 5 million to 20 million units.

Technology around timed AI has helped that jump, but according to Don Trimmer, Alta Genetics, there’s something else driving the 400% increase in beef semen sales: beef on dairy.

The goal is to increase efficiency. Breed some females to female-sexed dairy bull semen to create replacement heifers; breed the rest to semen from beef bulls to produce offspring with more carcass value.

Trimmer says nearly 5 million units of beef semen are going to dairies. “This is huge for the industry,” he adds.

Trimmer shares how beef unit sales broke down by market in 2020:

Domestic sales. 2.2 million units sold to breed beef females and 4.9 million units sold to breed dairy females.

Custom collections. 3.1 million units collected to breed beef females and 1.8 million units collected to breed dairy females.

International sales. 6.5 million units exported to breed beef females and 0.6 million units exported to breed dairy females.

Learn more in this presentation from the 2021 Beef Improvement Federation Symposium.


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