For the first time in Australia sales of sexed semen has passed the 200,000 unit mark, increasing 12.8% year-on-year in 2019 according to the National Herd Improvement Association of Australia’s (NHIA) 2019 Semen Market Survey. Sexed semen sales now represent over 10% of semen sold domestically.
While total sales declined 10.9% from the record 2,196,456 doses sold in 2018 to 1,957,221, export sales increased by 7.8% from 263,940 to 284,658 units.
Commenting on the trends revealed in the annual Semen Market Survey, which is based on data supplied by NHIA members, Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Carroll believes external factors are responsible for the overall sales decline.
“The downturn in the market, the drought and the knock on effect on water and fodder costs has had a significant impact on the number of dairy cows being joined. Factor these higher input costs alongside the declining national dairy herd and I don’t think the headline figures are a surprise.
“After the milk price crash in 2016 we saw many people clearing out their tanks leading to a drop off in sales, and I think we are seeing a similar pattern repeated.”
An increase in sales of beef semen by 12.1% to 280,539 units mirrored the 12.8% increase in sexed semen sales to 201,356 doses.
“If you look at sexed semen and beef semen sales together, I think it highlights that Australian breeders are working smarter. The growth in both markets is something I expect to see continue.
“The reliability of sexed semen is now at a very high level and we are seeing breeders across the board focus on the top end of their herds with these products. With the current strong export market many breeders are also using sexed semen around the mid-point of their herds as well. And don’t forget that animal welfare, particularly in relation to bobby calves, is also a driver.
“With what I would call more targeted breeding, the increase in beef semen sales is to be expected. Sexed semen top end, beef semen bottom end is a breeding strategy that works for many people. At the other end of the supply chain there is an increasing demand for dairy-beef cross animals and meat which is reflected in these figures.”
Export sales have now increased year-on-year from a low of 127,998 doses in 2016 to 284,658 in the period covered by the latest NHIA survey.
“Developing an export market in any field takes a lot of time and effort. Since 2015-2016 there has been a 122.3% increase export sales of Australian semen. We are certainly becoming a more significant player in the international market, with the long-term investment approach of our export focussed members starting to pay dividends. Overseas buyers are starting to take note of Australian breeding values,” says Stephen.
In other headline figures, the high demand for A2 products by dairy consumers and premium paid for A2 progeny saw A2 sires represent 49% of the total semen sold, underlining this important selection criteria.
Polled semen sires represent 5.4% of total semen sales with this slow increase reflective of the number of high genetic merit polled bulls available currently.
The Semen Market Survey 2019 participants were:
Dairy: ABS Australia | Agrigene | Alta Genetics | Genetics Australia | LIC/CRV | Semex | ST Genetics Australia | Total Livestock Genetics | Viking Genetics | World Wide Sires
Beef: ABS Australia | Agrigene | Alta Genetics | Genetics Australia | LIC | Semex | ST Genetics Australia | Total Livestock Genetics | World Wide Sires
Note: Downloadable files included with this release include a copy of the NHIA Semen Market Survey and images of Stephen Carroll, CEO of the National Herd Improvment Association of Australia and the bull, Bundalong Marks Medallion. This Australian bull, owned by Genetics Australia, sired thousands of daughters during its lifetime and produced more than 500,000 straws of semen. Named the first Holstein Australia Legend of the Breed last September, Bundalong Marks Medallion died in June 2019 just shy of its 14th birthday.
National Herd Improvement Association
Formed in 1995 as the successor to the Herd Improvement Organisation Victoria, The National Herd Improvement Association of Australia Incorporated (NHIA) is the industry organisation that promotes herd improvement within the Australian dairy industry, providing a range of services to its membership, and through that membership, to benefit Australian dairy farmers.
The member base includes organisations involved directly in the provision of herd improvement services, a range of activities that lead to productivity gains to farmers as well as herd industry improvement suppliers.