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The breeding objective of using sexed-semen reproductive technology is to produce a calf of a certain sex. The technology is rapidly used by dairy producers in obtaining more heifers compared to bulls due to the high economic value of the same. Despite so, there are some risks associated with the reproductive technology which leads some of the producers to choose natural breeding to the AI services. Hence, the research will focus on the comparison of the cons and pros of reproductive technology to the natural breeding.
AI with sexed-semen is one of the key methods which have been frequently used in the bearing of thousands of offsprings (McCullock, 2013). The method has been common in a variety of species but overwhelmingly in cattle where the sperms were sorted, sexed and later frozen for reproduction. Through sorting and selection, the Y-bearing and X-bearing are modified from the natural mix. For the DNA content of sperm, the low cytometrical cell sorting is used which ensures that the chromosomes are sorted since the Y-chromosomes have 3.8% less DNA. The DNA binding fluorescent dye is electronically used which ensures accurate separation of the chromosomes. As a result, the method of cell sorting due to the florescence-activated cell sorter ensures that the sperm contains 90% accuracy of the desired sex.
The table above shows the sexed-semen products offered by most and the major AI organization and their success rate. It indicates the success rate of sexed-semen is accurately at 90% (Olynk, 2007).
There are still improvements in technologies advancement in cell sorting focused on reducing the infertility risk to zero. Unlike the semen-sexed breeding, natural breeding is cheap, but have low success rate to achieving the breeding objective which is at 50%. Natural breeding is cheaper and less labor intensive.
The most effective breeding program design entails identification of the breeding objective which in our case is getting more females/heifers to bulls due to their higher economic value. The second stage is the trait measurement which entails the identification of the desired traits which entails the genetic evaluation, the DNA test as well as the performance. Finally, the identification of whom to select and mate is the last stage which entails selection, culling or mating (Olynk, 2007).
The choice of females/heifers as the breeding objective is due to their economic value. The heifer is worth $450 while that of a bull is at $50 at birth. Despite so, the time value of money is essential while considering the value of a heifer. For instance, the market value of purchasing a heifer calf which is two years is $ 2300 and raising one is $1930, one may choose to sell the newborn and buy an equally quality heifer in two years due to the time value for money (Olynk, 2007).
The sexed semen is usually more expensive compared to the conventional one. In most cases, the price is at $30 in average per straw but it varies in the sire. Despite the high costs, the success rate is at 90%, therefore, the risk of using the method is low (De Vries, 2006).
On the other hand, the natural breeding success of getting a heifer is at 50% with the cost of breeding been at $10.
Profit= FleeceWght* price/kg –cost
Therefore, it is evident that the economic value of using sexed-semen is significantly high compared to the natural breeding.
In case of the use of the traditional semen, the conception rate is low (80% to 85%) which leads to the extended cost of rearing the virgin heifers or for breeding lactating cows. The conception risk when using sexed-semen on the lactating cows is high, hence, this is not recommended. On the other hand, natural breeding is associated with several cons to include a lot of time to introducing a new genetics as well as longer calving season (Seidel Jr, 2007).
De Vries, A. (2009). The economics of sexed semen in dairy heifers and cows. The Institute of Food and.
McCullock, K., Hoag, D. L., Parsons, J., Lacy, M., Seidel Jr, G. E., & Wailes, W. (McCullock, 2013). Factors affecting economics of using sexed semen in dairy cattle. Journal of dairy science, 96(10), 6366-6377.
Olynk, N. J., & Wolf, C. A. (2007). Expected net present value of pure and mixed sexed semen artificial insemination strategies in dairy heifers. Journal of dairy science, 90(5), 2569-2576.
De Vries, A. (2006). Economic value of pregnancy in dairy cattle1. Journal of dairy science, 89(10), 3876-3885.
Seidel Jr, G. E. (2007). Overview of sexing sperm. Theriogenology, 68(3), 443-446.
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