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In general, semen sales have increased, but more beef semen is being used on dairy operations than beef operations in the U.S.

Sierra Day, Field editor

December 3, 2021

1 Min Read
BULL: Technology has increased the popularity of artificial insemination, but what has driven the incline of beef semen sales? Beef on dairy. Holly Spangler

Not a surprise: More farmers and ranchers are using artificial insemination than ever before.

Surprise: More beef semen gets sold in the U.S. to breed dairy cows than to breed beef cows.

Semen sales are up exponentially across both dairy and beef sectors over the past 20 years, with annual dairy semen sales going from 20 million to 50 million units, and beef semen sales going from 5 million to 20 million units.

Technology around timed AI has helped that jump, but according to Don Trimmer, Alta Genetics, there’s something else driving the 400% increase in beef semen sales: beef on dairy.

The goal is to increase efficiency. Breed some females to female-sexed dairy bull semen to create replacement heifers; breed the rest to semen from beef bulls to produce offspring with more carcass value.

Trimmer says nearly 5 million units of beef semen are going to dairies. “This is huge for the industry,” he adds.

Trimmer shares how beef unit sales broke down by market in 2020:

Domestic sales. 2.2 million units sold to breed beef females and 4.9 million units sold to breed dairy females.

Custom collections. 3.1 million units collected to breed beef females and 1.8 million units collected to breed dairy females.

International sales. 6.5 million units exported to breed beef females and 0.6 million units exported to breed dairy females.

Learn more in this presentation from the 2021 Beef Improvement Federation Symposium.


About the Author(s)

Sierra Day

Field editor, Farm Progress

A 10th-generation agriculturist, Sierra Day grew up alongside the Angus cattle, corn and soybeans on her family’s operation in Cerro Gordo, Ill. Although she spent an equal amount in farm machinery as she did in the cattle barn as a child, Day developed a bigger passion for the cattle side of the things.

An active member of organizations such as 4-H, FFA and the National Junior Angus Association, she was able to show Angus cattle on the local, state and national levels while participating in contests and leadership opportunities that were presented through these programs.

As Day got older, she began to understand the importance of transitioning from a member to a mentor for other youth in the industry. Thus, her professional and career focus is centered around educating agriculture producers and youth to aid in prospering the agriculture industry.

In 2018, she received her associate degree from Lake Land College, where her time was spent as an active member in clubs such as Ag Transfer club and PAS. A December 2020 graduate of Kansas State University in Animal Sciences & Industry and Agricultural Communications & Journalism, Day was active in Block & Bridle and Agriculture Communicators of Tomorrow, while also serving as a communications student worker in the animal science department.

Day currently resides back home where she owns and operates Day Cattle Farm with her younger brother, Chayton. The duo strives to raise functional cattle that are show ring quality and a solid foundation for building anyone’s herd.

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