Sales of sexed dairy semen have soared another 8% on the year with the latest survey of breeding companies revealing a jump from 76% to 84%.

Data collected over the 12 months to April 2024, shows that 84% of all dairy semen sold is sexed, with the Holstein remaining the most popular breed, with on average 88% of semen sold as sexed.

Increased use of sexed dairy semen has also allowed for a higher uptake of beef semen used on the remainder of the milking herd.

As a result, beef semen sales are outstripping dairy for the first time with the former now representing 52% of all semen sold to dairy farms.

In turn this has enabled dairy farmers to accelerate the genetic progress within their herds by selectively breeding heifer replacements from the most elite females. They are however being advised to use the tools available to them to pinpoint the best females to breed from, such as genomic evaluations and AHDB’s herd genetic report.

This shift in semen use directly impacts the beef supply chain through the larger proportion of beef crosses that the dairy sector is now producing.

But they also stand to benefit from the genetic improvements in efficiency of the dairy herd, as these improved genetics filter through in their offspring. Marco Winters, AHDB head of animal genetics, said: “UK dairy farmers are leading the world in the adoption of sexed semen, and should be commended on their progressive attitude to adopting modern technologies to improve their herd efficiencies.”