Big move to sexed semen tipped

Sexed semen and beef semen sales to rise in Australian dairy industry

Herd Management
SHIFT: New Total Livestock Genetics sales manager Darren Fletcher is tipping sexed semen to make up more than 50 per cent of total sales within a few years.

SHIFT: New Total Livestock Genetics sales manager Darren Fletcher is tipping sexed semen to make up more than 50 per cent of total sales within a few years.

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A big shift to sexed semen and beef semen is tipped for the Australian dairy industry.

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New Total Livestock Genetics (TLG) sales manager Darren Fletcher is predicting a big shift to sexed semen and more beef sires in dairy enterprises.

Within the next few years, more than 50 per cent of semen sales were likely to be sexed, Mr Fletcher said.

"It could even go further than that if we follow the trends in Scandinavia, especially with the Jersey breed where 70 to 80pc of farmers are using sexed semen," he said.

"It's already a hot market and going to get hotter."

Mr Fletcher said farmers were wanting to move away from bobby calves.

"The main driver behind sexed semen is that you can get out of the bobby calf market," he said.

"You get heifers earlier and can then incorporate dairy beef to add more value to your business."

While conventional semen will continue to play a role in Australian genetics, Mr Fletcher said more farmers were seeing the benefits of investing in sexed semen.

"The price difference will mean some farmers will always use conventional semen but sexed is definitely a good investment," he said.

"You're 90 per cent guaranteed a heifer calf."

Mr Fletcher said health traits were also a strong focus for farmers.

"For a long time, the focus was on production but the last five years the AI industry has been big on fertility, health traits and longevity," he said.

Mr Fletcher comes to the role with a strong background in dairy farming and breeding and genetics.

The former dairy farm owner has most recently worked as breeding adviser account manager for Viking Genetics.

"I was a typical dairy farmer's kid who left school and went out in the world to work for a few years," he said.

It took a city girl to lure him back to dairy farming.

"I met my wife Nicole who was a city girl but she wanted to try dairy farming," he said.

"At the time we owned a motel in Yarram but she had a friend who was a dairy farmer and they taught her to milk.

"She said let's sell the motel and go dairy farming and the rest is history."

They started managing a farm and progressed to share farming before buying their own property at Bena in Gippsland.

As TLG sales manager based at Leongatha, Vic, Mr Fletcher will mostly be responsible for semen sales but also genomic testing and assisting clients with their embryo transfer requirements

"I want to make sure we supply a good range of bulls to suit all types of dairy farming," he said.

Mr Fletcher said breeding was his passion.

"Being a dairy farmer, you tend to have a part of the business that interests you; some are grass, some are machinery, some are breeding," he said.

"I loved the breeding; watching the heifers come through from calves and seeing them raised and joined and then standing in the dairy in front of you."

TLG was recently bought by Genetics Australia but continues to operate as a stand-alone business.

Paul Douglas new manager at STGenetics

EXPERIENCE: STGenetics new business development and resources manager Paul Douglas has a number of years' experience in the animal genetics industry.

EXPERIENCE: STGenetics new business development and resources manager Paul Douglas has a number of years' experience in the animal genetics industry.

Meanwhile, STGenetics has appointed former TLG sales manager Paul Douglas as its business development and resources manager.

Mr Douglas has a number of years' experience in the animal genetics industry, primarily focused on the dairy industry and the evolution of genomics within this field, with some external consultancy to the instigation of sheep and beef genomic evaluation projects.

He was with TLG for 2 years.

Prior to joining TLG he managed the Ginfo project (on behalf of the Dairy Futures CRC), providing opportunities to further utilise genetic data to improve the understanding and importance of genomics within the Australian dairy industry.

Mr Douglas has a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from Melbourne University, a Post Graduate Diploma in Agribusiness from Monash University, and has completed a Leadership Program with the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science.

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