Economic considerations for using sexed semen on Holstein cows and heifers in Estonia
Estonian University of Life Sciences, Institute of Economics and Social Sciences, Kreutzwaldi 1, EE51014 Tartu, Estonia
The study investigated economic and managerial considerations for using sexed semen as a tool for accelerated herd expansion and improvement of its genetic potential. Economic value of reproduction strategies based on conventional semen and sexed semen were analysed according to partial budgeting method by Victor E Cabrera and adjusted for the Estonian average indicators. Data for the study were provided by Animal Breeders Association of Estonia. In order to evaluate the economic value of using sexed semen over conventional semen, five different reproductive strategies involving sexed semen were used and compared with conventional semen-based strategy. Average conception rate from the first insemination with conventional semen was 65.6% and 56.1% with sexed semen for Holstein heifers in Estonia in 2015. Probability for birth of a female calf was 49.3% with conventional semen and 93.0% with sexed semen. Net present value for all sexed semen based reproduction strategies was negative at the baseline conditions. Sensitivity analysis for key reproductive and economic variables showed that market price of female calves and conception rates had the most impact on the economic value. Sexed semen can be a valuable tool for reproduction management in dairy farms, but the actual economic value of its application depends on the reproductive performance and objectives of an individual farm. Results of this study provide basis for further research about the situations, where using sexed semen would be economically justified for the farmers.