2023 journal article
Characterization of semen type prevalence and allocation in Holstein and Jersey females in the United States
Journal of Dairy Science.
Our objective was to characterize semen type prevalence and allocation to inseminate US Holstein and Jersey females by year, parity, service number, and herd size. A secondary objective was to identify the prevalence of beef breed sires selected to create beef × Holstein and beef × Jersey crossbred calves. The final data set included 8,244,653 total inseminations of 4,880,752 Holstein females across 9,155 herds, and 435,267 total inseminations of 266,058 Jersey females across 2,759 herds from October 2019 to July 2021. This data set represents approximately 42 and 27% of the total dairy cows and heifers, respectively, across approximately 40% of the total licensed dairy herds in the continental United States. Holstein and Jersey females were inseminated with 1 of 4 semen types: (1) beef, (2) conventional, (3) sexed, or (4) other dairy. The top 4 beef breeds used to produce beef × Holstein and beef × Jersey crossbred calves, respectively, were Angus (55.1 and 39.1%), Limousin (13.9, and 23.5%), Simmental (11.7 and 20.5%), and Crossbreed Beef (11.3 and 4.8%). From 2019 to 2021, the use of sexed semen to inseminate Holstein and Jersey females increased from 11.0 and 24.5% to 17.7 and 32.1%, respectively, and the use of beef semen to inseminate Holstein and Jersey females increased from 18.2 and 11.4% to 26.1 and 21.2%, respectively. The use of beef semen to inseminate Holstein and Jersey females increased with increasing parity and service number, whereas the use of sexed semen decreased with increasing parity and service number supporting that farmers used sexed semen more aggressively in higher fertility and younger females with greater genetic merit. Overall, the increase in sexed and beef semen inseminations was driven primarily by larger herds. In conclusion, sexed and beef semen inseminations in US Holstein and Jersey females increased from 2019 to 2021 and was allocated differentially based on parity and service number. This increase was driven primarily by larger dairy herds possibly due to differences in reproductive performance and economies of scale.