A strong 2020 for Australia's AI industry saw total dairy semen sales increase by 10 per cent year-on-year from 1,957,221 to 2,154,064 doses, according to the National Herd Improvement Association of Australia's (NHIA) annual Semen Market Survey.
Underpinning the overall growth in semen sales were some interesting trends which saw a marked increase in sexed semen sales of 60pc year-on-year, from 201,356 to 321,777 doses; sales of daughter proven and genomic polled semen combined grow by 52.6pc from 105,465 to 160,989 doses, and; the total doses of semen sold from bulls selected for A2 increased by 21pc from 964,291 to 1,166,432 doses.
NHIA chair, Graeme Gillan, says the growth in sales reflects the position of the industry farmers investing in their breeding programs, with the marked increase in sexed and polled semen sales indicative of a real focus on improving production efficiencies and developing sustainable breeding strategies.
"Prior to this year the annual increase in sexed semen sales was around the 12 to 15pc mark," Mr Gillan said.
"Rapid improvement in the quality and reliability of sexed semen has seen wider adoption across industry with breeders using it to accelerate herd expansion, improve animal welfare, minimise waste production and increase profitability as well as increasing genetic gain within their herds, hence the 60pc leap in sales this year.
"It's a similar story with the increase in use of polled semen, driven by health and safety factors, animal welfare and production efficiencies."
The continued uptake of genomics on Australian farms was confirmed by a 12.3pc increase in genomic semen from 869,155 doses to 976,298.
Sales of proven semen increased 7pc from 684,169 doses to 732,175, underscoring the reliability and continued appeal of the 'tried and tested' daughter proven bull approach and its appeal to many breeders.
"There isn't any doubt that genomic selection has allowed for rapid acceleration of genetic progress," Mr Gillan said.
"What we are seeing now, reflected in the steady growth in use of genomic semen, is increasing use of genomic selection to predict future performance of cows and heifers.
"Nowhere is this clearer than in the use of polled genomics, with polled genomic semen sales increasing by 48pc this year."
In a positive sign for the Australian dairy genetics, international export sales of dairy semen increased 6pc year-on-year from 285,658 to 307,430 doses, continuing the year-on-year increase in since 2016 when just 127,998 doses exported, a cumulative increase of 140pc over the last four years.
The 2020 NHIA Semen Market Survey also confirms the continuing demand for A2 products by dairy consumers and the premium paid for A2 progeny with A2 sires accounting for over half (53.1pc) of total semen sold for the first time.
Looking at the individual dairy breeds Holstein semen accounted for 80pc of the total of 2,154,064 doses sold over the year, roughly in line with the proportion of Holstein's that make up the national dairy herd.
Overall, Holstein semen sales increased by 14pc and Aussie Reds by 10pc, with all other dairy breeds seeing a decline in sales.
Beef semen sales increased by 28.3pc, from 280,539 doses to 359, 802 year-on-year, with the five year trend seeing a 118pc increase.
With the AI industry's increased engagement with and servicing of the beef industry, plus increased sale reporting, this is a trend that is likely to continue and grow into the future.
- Article supplied by the National Herd Improvement Association of Australia.
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