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♦ Introducing the Prospective℠ Program
♦ Introducing the Prospective℠ Program

By: Joe Binversie, Value Added Program Manager, GENEX 

Sexed semen has become a mainstay in strategic breeding programs. However, determining the most appropriate sexed semen product to use has become more difficult as more options have become available with differing fertility and price. That's why GENEX created the Prospective℠ program, a semen profit comparison tool. 

Prospective-Logo.jpgThe Prospective℠ program is a free, value-added tool to help producers develop effective strategic breeding programs. The unbiased, Microsoft Excel-based program uses a dairy's basic inputs to calculate how a semen product choice may impact profits. It shows the return on investment for a particular sexed semen product in comparison to conventional semen.

Whether using sexed semen on cows or heifers, the program is applicable. It offers a one-page report for each that summarizes the dollars lost of gained from a particular sexed semen product. For cows, return on investment is calculated as: Difference in Asset (Calf) Value + Difference in Semen Cost + Cost of Added Days Open = Total Profit/Loss of Using the Sexed Product Versus Conventional Semen.

For heifers, the same formula is used, but it also includes a value for additional milk income associated with heifers birthing heifer calves.2 Furthermore, the program calculates the estimated days open cost based on different breeding strategies (using the sexed semen product on the first service, first two services or all services).

Breaking it Down
Both the cow and heifer reports are broken into three sections: conventional semen, GenChoice™ sexed semen and GenChoice™ 4M sexed semen. Figures 1 through 3 show these sections on the heifer report.

In any section, the cells shaded in light gray may be edited by the user. The user enters data for price/unit, conception rate and heifer ratio. The white cells are calculated values. The values shown in red indicate a financial expense or loss.


Figure 2, from the heifer report, is comparing the use of GenChoice™ sexed semen to conventional semen (based on the farm-specific inputs). In this farm's example, use of GenChoice™ sexed semen is profitable when used on the first service ($8.02/unit profit) or first two services ($1.99/unit profit) compared to conventional semen. If GenChoice™ sexed semen was used on all services, there would be a $4.44 loss per unit compared to conventional semen.


Figure 3 compares GenChoice™ 4M sexed semen to conventional semen based on the farm-provided inputs. As shown, the price per unit and expected conception rates have increased in comparison to the values used in Figure 2. Furthermore, in this farm's example, GenChoice™ 4M sexed semen is profitable, compared to conventional semen, when used on any number of services. Interestingly, the profit gained per unit of GenChoice™ 4M sexed semen is also greater than profit gained per unit of GenChoice™ sexed semen when compared on any number of services. If conception rates for GenChoice™ 4M sexed semen are significantly greater, one could expect a greater return on investment even with the increased price per unit.


Exploring Conception Rate Trends
Conception rates impact the return on investment from the different sexed semen products. How has sexed semen conception rates changed and where are they going?

In the Holstein breed, sexed semen usage in heifers has increased from 9.4% of total breedings in 2007 to 30.7% in 2015. The same study showed heifer conception rates from sexed semen improved from 42% to 49% during that same period.3 Likewise, increases in usage (o.2% compared to 1%) and conception rates (26% compared to 30%) were observed in cows from 2007 to 2015.3

The increase in conception rates have mostly been attributed to technology improvements in recent years.1,3 Among them is sexed semen processed with SexedULTRA™, which GENEX and other A.I. organizations have been marketing over the last several years. However, even with recent improvements, sexed semen conception rates still trail conventional semen by about 10%.3 Furthermore, PregCheck+™ fertility rankings for GenChoice™ sexed semen indicate a significant variance between individual sires. It is not uncommon for conception rates to vary between individual sires by 10 points or more.

Limited conception data is available on the new 4M product, marketed by GENEX as GenChoice™ 4M sexed semen. However, a recent study in about 5,500 Holstein heifers compared conventional semen to the traditional sexed semen (with 2 million sperm cells per unit) and the 4M product (with 4 million sperm cells per unit). Interestingly, the semen types differed significantly in conception rates (conventional = 57.8%, traditional sexed = 40.6% and 4M = 46.4%).4 Said another way, the 4M sexed semen had significantly greater conception rates than the sexed semen packaged at 2 million sperm cells per unit but significantly lower (11.4%) conception rates than conventional semen. As more data is collected and evaluated, a clearer picture will emerge on the efficacy of the 4M product.

Ultimately, conception rates from sexed semen will continue to improve and its use in the dairy industry will continue to increase. Using the Prospective℠ program. to compare sexed semen products will help producers define how to best utilize them now and in the future.


(1) Heuer, C., D. Kendall, C. Sun, J. Deeb, J. Moreno, and R. Vishwanath. 2017. Evaluation of conception rates of sex-sorted semen in commercial dairy farms over the last five years. J. Dairy Sci. 100 (E-Suppl. 2): 198. (Abstr.)

(2) Hinde, K., A.J. Carpenter, J. Clay, B.J. Bradford. 2014 Holsteins favor heifers, not bulls: biased milk production programmed during pregnancy as a function of fetal sex. PlosOne .9 (2):e86169.

(3) Hutchison, J.L., and D.M. Bickhart. 2016. Sexed semen usage for Holstein AI in the United States. J. Dairy Sci. 99 (E-Suppl. 1):176. (Abstr.)

(4) Utt, M.D., L. Helser, J.M. DeJarnette, R. Lenz, C. Gonzalez, T. Gilligan, J. Moreno, and R. Vishwanath. 2017. Effects of sperm dosage on conception rates of sex-sorted sperm processed using SexedUltra procedures. J. Dairy Sci. 100 (E-Suppl. 2):427. (Abstr.) 

August 2017