Background

A new trial into the controversial viability of using sexed semen in Ireland, which allows farmers to determine the sex of their calves, has the potential to revolutionise the dairy and beef industry. Conventionally there is a 50/50 chance of male or female off spring, but in the dairy industry, female offspring are more desirable than male offspring. Dairy farmers using sexed semen will be able to increase the numbers of heifer calves born and reduce the number of unwanted male dairy calves. Kathriona meets Teagasc researchers who are heading up a €1m project with ICBF and US-based Sexing Technologies to establish the viability of using sexed semen in Ireland, and speaks to Farmer Kevin Twomey about the importance of this type of ongoing research, particularly in light of facilitating the 50% increase in milk output as set out in the government’s Food Harvest 2020 policy.