Sexed beef semen which has a 90 percent chance of producing a male calf is now being marketed in the UK for the very first time.
The Crawford brothers Raymond (left) and Stephen with Sauvignon.
The bull which has been sexed is the outstandingly popular Sauvignon, a French-bred Limousin which is owned by Crawford Brothers from Maguiresbridge in County Fermanagh.
The sexing is being undertaken by breeding company Cogent, who have been pioneers in this technology for over 10 years. However, the company has previously only produced sexed female semen to fulfil a huge market from the dairy farming industry.
But having a male calf is known to be economically beneficial for commercial beef producers, as males finish faster, produce better carcass grades and are therefore more profitable than the equivalent heifer.
Sauvignon’s exceptional list of accomplishments is topped by his performance at the Paris Show in 2007.
“We were the first UK exhibitors ever to participate in the livestock classes at the Paris Show, but we thought it was worth the effort of getting there as we felt we were in with a chance,” said Raymond Crawford, co-owner of the bull.
Sauvignon duly obliged by taking the breed’s overall male championship, as well as the progeny and carcass championships.
Since being recognised as the best Limousin bull in Europe – and with a string of other awards to his credit including supreme beef championship at the Great Yorkshire Show in 2007 and Limousin championship at the Royal Welsh Show in 2006 - demand from around the world for Sauvignon’s semen has gone through the roof.
Also identified by ASDA as a bull whose progeny will meet the supermarket’s commercial needs, he is offered to their dedicated Beef Link suppliers at a substantial discount.
“We have seen a lot of Sauvignon’s progeny and are now trialling some on our demonstration farm in Yorkshire,” said Pearce Hughes from ASDA. “And early indications are that they will be up with the best of the breed.
“Because he is such a great carcass bull, his progeny have a good chance of meeting the E and U grades needed for our Extra Special range, so we are encouraging our Beef Link suppliers to use him.”
“We are delighted to be involved with a bull of this calibre and to have attained the same levels of purity in the semen sorting process that we achieve when producing sexed female semen,” added Stuart Boothman, who oversees the stud at Cogent.
“We have been perfecting the male sorting process over the past year, and can now guarantee a 90 per cent chance of a pregnancy resulting in a male calf.”
“We have been selling female sexed semen from this bull which has been extremely popular with breeders who want to expand their suckler herds,” continued Mr Crawford. “But this initiative with male semen will give beef producers complete control over what they breed, and for what purpose and market.”
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