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Effects of herd fertility on the economics of sexed semen in a high-producing, pasture-based dairy production system.

D. Walsh

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06-23-2020

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Abstract:

T73
Effects of herd fertility on the economics of sexed semen in a high-producing, pasture-based dairy production system.
D. Walsh*1, A. Fahey1, F. Mulligan2, M. Wallace1. 1School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin Dublin, Ireland, 2School of Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin Dublin, Ireland.

Sexed semen has the potential to increase genetic gain of dairy populations through increased selection intensity on the dam side. However, the use of sexed semen in the dairy industry has been limited by sexing accuracy, low conception rates, and cost. A stochastic simulation model was used to estimate the potential economic benefit of using sexed semen in heifers and heifers and lactating cows in a high producing, pasture-based system under 3 fertility scenarios. Three breeding strategies were modeled: (1) only heifers inseminated with sexed semen and cows inseminated with conventional unsexed semen (SSH); (2) both heifers and cows inseminated with sexed semen (SSHC); and (3) a reference scenario in which all heifers and cow were inseminated with conventional, unsexed semen (CONV). Each scenario was evaluated under 3 herd fertility states: ‘high' (HF), ‘medium' (MF) and ‘low' (LF) which under the reference scenario corresponded to herd replacement rates of 21%, 25% and 31%, respectively. The model estimated the economic profit including the net present value of the genetic gain from increased selection intensity. The economic return from adoption of sexed semen strategies declined with reduced levels of baseline herd fertility turning negative in the LF state. The Sexed Semen Advantage (SSA) for HF-SSH, MF-SSH and LF-SSH scenarios were €30.61/cow � 8.98, €27.45/cow � 7.19 and €14.69/cow � 11.06 respectively. However, the SSA for HF-SSHC, MF-SSHC and LF-SSHC scenarios were €49.14/cow � 15.43, €18.46/cow � 30.08, and €-19.30/cow � 57.11. The range in economic profit for SSA for SSH was most sensitive to calf prices in HF-SSH and the pregnancy rate of sexed semen as a percentage of conventional in MF-SSH and LF-SSH. The range in economic profit for SSA for SSHC scenarios was most sensitive to sexed semen as a percentage of conventional in HF-SSHC, MF-SSHC and LF-SSHC. This study highlights the effect of baseline herd fertility state on the financial advantage of adopting sexed semen in a pasture-based, dairy production system.

Keywords: sexed semen, stochastic model, grazing.