29 Sep 2009

No sudden demand expected for sexed-semen technology

6:48 am on 29 September 2009

The livestock breeding and genetics company LIC does not a sudden rush of demand for new technology that allows farmers to choose the gender of their animals' offspring.

But it says having access to the process in New Zealand will still be a breakthrough for the dairy industry in particular.

Sexed-semen technology, which has a 90% success rate, has been available in the United States for some time.

From next month, an American company that owns the process will be providing the service in New Zealand, in a laboratory arrangement with AgResearch and the Waikato Innovation Park.

Dairy farmers wanting heifer calves rather than bull calves will thus be able to plan with a high degree of confidence.

The price will be an estimated three times the normal cost of artificial insemination.

LIC genetics manager Peter Gatley expects demand will take several years to build up.

The sexed-semen service will also be available for other livestock, including horses, deer, pigs and sheep.