How dairy inseminations will impact calf numbers

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

By Chris Gooderham

The results from our genetic team’s latest survey of breeding companies shows sales of sexed dairy semen doubled over the last two years. In the dairy herd, we have recently seen an increase in dairy youngstock numbers being registered. What impact are semen sales expected to have on the number of calves being born in the dairy herd over the coming months?

Since the start of 2020, births of dairy female calves have been increasing year on year. Expectation is that this trend will continue through to the end of 2021. The use of more sexed dairy semen will increase the number of dairy females born, with our estimate showing a 7% rise in 2021 compared with 2020.

The opposite is true for dairy male calves. Expectations are that the recent downwards trend in births of dairy males will continue. In 2020, dairy male registrations were down 13% compared with 2019. Our expectation is that this reduction will accelerate, with an estimated 19% drop in 2021 compared with 2020. That is equivalent to 46k fewer dairy males compared with the year before.

For beef crosses, the picture is slightly different. Over recent years the number of beef cross calves born has been rising. In 2020, there were 3.7% more (26k head) more registered than in 2019. However, our expectation is the number of beef cross calves born will reduce in 2021, by around 2%.

These projections will feed into our dairy and beef Agri-market outlooks, which are due out at the end of July.

Image of staff member Chris Gooderham

Chris Gooderham

Science and Environment Director

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