$1,200 For One Unit of Holstein Semen

March 18, 2014 10:08 AM

Cogent Breeding Limited, based in the United Kingdom, announced today that it will be offering single straws of Cogent Supershot for $1,200 each. Supershot is the first bull to be marketed with a net merit index of more than $1,000.

On a genotypic basis, Supershot is a superstar, says Owain, Harries, Gogent Breedings Genetic Procurement manager. "Supershot boasts a highly impressive GTPI of 2563 [in the United States], 3528 GLPI in Canada, 33413 PFT in Intaly, 162 RZG in Germany, not forgetting his PLI of £281 here in the UK," he says.

In the United States, Supershot is +2,366 lb. for milk, +174 lbs. combined fat and protein and +7.4 for Productive Life. He is sired by the former No. 1 GTPI bulled, Seagull-Bay Supersire.

A maximum of 1,000 units of semen will be available for delivery April 28, 2014. No more semen will be made available until August 1, 2014.

The $1,200 per unit price tag for conventional, unsexed semen will probably only attract the most elite Holstein breeders. Keep in mind that it often takes three or four units of semen to produce a live calf due to far from perfect conception rates.

More likely, elite breeders will use the semen for in vitro fertilization where they know they will get multiple embryos and calves from a single unit of semen. Then, these calves will receive stellar care. That’s good for the calf, but it also can create "preferential treatment."

"Preferential treatment has become a huge issue for genomic evaluations," says Les Hansen, a dairy geneticist with the University of Minnesota. "This has resulted in bulls, especially in the United States, with genetic evaluations that are biased upward."

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