An increasing number of dairy producers are implementing a combined approach to breeding that involves the use of sexed semen on the very best cows in the herd and beef semen on the remainder. This approach aims to ensure that sufficient heifer replacements are produced, whilst an additional source of income is generated through the sale of beef x dairy calves.
The Lyons family are one of many producers who are reaping the benefits of using a sexed and beef breeding strategy. Steven Lyons manages Bencran Farm in a family partnership alongside his brother Stuart and father, Graham. The farm is milking a herd of 180 Holsteins on 300 acres of land in Omagh, County Tyrone. Alongside the dairy enterprise, the farm rears 150 pedigree Dorset sheep. The herd yields almost 9,800 litres of milk per year at 4% Butterfat and 3.25% Protein which is sold to local milk processors, Green Pastures.
Above: Twin Agronaut heifers pictured at Bencran Farm.
Starting out with just 30 heifers over 6 years ago, Steven and Stuart have gradually expanded the herd to over 180 cows using sexed semen. “We were previously using conventional semen as we did not have the confidence in conception rates with sexed semen and getting far too many bull calves as a result”. Using SexedULTRA 4M has completely changed our view, and we are now reaching conception rates of 80% on both cows and heifers with sexed semen.” explains Steven.
The Lyons brothers have now decided to take a strategic approach to driving efficiencies and profitability at Bencram Farm by using 100% sexed semen on the genetically best and most fertile cows within the herd and beef semen on the remainder.