A battle is brewing in the U.S. over new technologies designed to make sure only milk-producing cows are born. Most of America’s 9.4 million dairy cows are bred using artificial insemination from bulls with specific genetic traits, but there’s still a randomness about the sex of the offspring. So, more farmers are paying a premium for semen that contains only the X chromosomes for females.
The attorneys are fighting over patents rights and propriety. Meanwhile farmers are paying premiums to get sexed semen and reduce the birth of bull calves.
Source: Bloomberg, January 3, 2018.
Sex-determined semen for breeding remains relatively new and accounts for only 3% of a global market. Sex is the most important genetic trait. Farming is all about genetics, and most farmers don’t have control over the sex of their herd. There’s plenty of room for growth, as long as farmers can be convinced the extra investment will pay off. Of the 175 million semen straws sold globally each year, only about 5 million are sex-selected, and 2 million of those are in the U.S.
INSIGHTS: One might wonder when the question of GMO will enter this discussion. Currently a GMO is defined as being artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering. Will the laser process and flow cytometry eventually become considered engineering?