Sex-sorted semen for dairy heifers: Effects on reproductive and lactational performances

R. C. Chebel, F. S. Guagnini, J. E P Santos, John Fetrow, J. R. Lima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effects of using sex-sorted semen for first AI of heifers on health and productivity during first lactation. Holstein heifers (herd A=227 and herd B=1,144) received first artificial insemination (AI) with sex-sorted semen (SX; n=343) or conventional semen (CS; n=1,028), and all heifers that displayed estrus after first AI were reinseminated with conventional semen up to 11 times before being culled. Age at first AI was 13.1 ± 0.1 and 13.8 ± 0.1 mo for SX and CS heifers, respectively, in herd A and 12.9 ± 0.1 mo for both SX and CS heifers in herd B. Pregnancy per AI after first AI was greater for CS heifers than for SX heifers (51.8 vs. 40.2%). From heifers initially enrolled, 70.2% calved in herds A (n=188) or B (n=774) and first-lactation data were collected. Interval from first AI to calving was greater for SX heifers than for CS heifers (10.2 ± 0.1 vs. 9.9 ± 0.1 mo). Among heifers conceiving to first AI, SX heifers were more likely than CS heifers to deliver a female calf (85.7 vs. 47.7%), but because SX heifers were more likely to deliver a dead calf (8.8 vs. 3.4%), the difference in proportion of SX and CS heifers delivering a live female calf was smaller than expected (SX=79.1%; CS=47.2%). Rearing cost from first AI to calving was greater for SX heifers than for CS heifers (775.3 ± 6.7 vs. 750.0 ± 5.9), but calf revenue tended to be greater for SX heifers (142.0 ± 7.2 vs. 126.7 ± 6.4) and cost per female calf produced was smaller for SX heifers than for CS heifers (-809.4 ± 10.8 vs. -1,249.7 ± 10.9). Treatment did not affect calving difficulty, proportion of heifers needing assistance, and incidence of retained fetal membranes or metritis. Among heifers that conceived to first AI, however, SX heifers were more likely to be culled within 30 DIM (3.3 vs. 1.6%) and tended to be more likely to be culled within 60 DIM (5.5 vs. 3.4%) than CS heifers, but overall replacement cost was not different (136.8 ± 13.4). Total milk yield (9,245.5 ± 84.7. kg) and income over feed cost (554.7 ± 5.1) were not different. Overall economic return was greater for SX heifers than CS heifers (-83.7 ± 36.7 vs. -175.3 ± 33.4). Use of sex-sorted semen for first insemination of virgin heifers reduced the cost per female calf produced and increased the economic return during the first lactation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2496-2507
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume93
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2010

Keywords

  • Economics
  • Heifer
  • Sex-sorted semen

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