Inseminations impact on dairy calf births

Thursday, 29 October 2020

By Chris Gooderham

Over the last 5 years, we’ve seen a rapid rise in the sales of sexed semen. What impact has that had on the types of calves being produced, and how might things progress from here?

Between April 2015 and April 2020, we have seen the following changes to the GB monthly average* number of calf births:

  • Dairy female calf births have fallen by -3k head (-6%)
  • Dairy male calf births are estimated to have fallen by -12k head (-33%), and
  • Beef sired dairy calf births have increased by +14k head (+34%).

By monitoring semen sales we can also predict how these calf numbers might change over the coming year (June 2020-June 2021). These suggest:

  • Dairy female calf births will marginally decline, falling by -0.6k head (-2%)
  • Dairy male calf births will fall by -7k head (-29%), and
  • Beef sired dairy calf births will increase by a further +4k head (+8%).

The industry is trending towards fewer dairy bulls, but more beef crosses. The number of dairy heifers born is not expected to change dramatically over the coming year.

Notes

* Estimated monthly number of calves born based on a 12-month rolling average basis

Chris Gooderham

Head of Market Specialists - Dairy & Livestock

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