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17 Jan 2021

Sexed semen setting trends in cattle breeding

Sexed semen is a growing technology among dairy and beef farmers around the world. The technology gives you a 90% chance of a heifer calf or a bull calf for beef. But how do you ensure the best genetic progress and biggest return on investment?

“If you’ve already used sexed semen, you have likely experienced the benefits,” says Jim Bruce, Country Manager for VikingGenetics in Australia and New Zealand.

“You get a 90% chance of a heifer calf from your best females by using X-Vik sexed semen. Or a 90% chance of a bull calf for beef with Y-Vik sexed semen,” he explains.

Fewer unwanted bull calves and easy calvings with heifer calves are also advantages of sexed semen.  “But some farmers still hesitate to use sexed semen. They worry about the conception rate and the financial aspects.  Sexed semen may cost more than conventional. But you can get a high return on investment when you use the technology in a targeted way to manage your herd and business.”

Conception rate

When sexed semen was first launched in the cattle industry over a decade ago, the conception rate was around 30%. “Today, the conception rate for sexed semen is 55% which is very close to conventional rate of 60%. We even have farmers who have experienced a 70% conception rate from X-Vik sexed semen,” Jim Bruce says.

VikingGenetics was amongst the first in the world to offer the sexed semen technology in cattle breeding. Today, the company is one of a few bovine genetics providers to offer the genetics solution for three major cattle breeds: Holstein, Jersey and Red Dairy Cattle.

Breeding for healthy and high-producing cows has always been an integral part of the VikingGenetics breeding strategy. “With X-Vik and Y-Vik, you are tapping into more than a decade of scientific research and data collection. We track everything. You don’t just get a sexed semen straw — you get a healthy, sustainable herd,” says Jim Bruce.


Only the best

The production of X-Vik and Y-Vik sexed semen happens at the VikingGenetics bull station in Denmark. The lab is next door to the barn, which allows our staff to perform the highest quality control — from production to sorting, processing, shipment, insemination and the six-week in calf check.

“Our lab is in constant communication with the barn staff about the production,” Jim Bruce says. “It’s important that the bulls are healthy and thriving. We follow the performance closely and adjust whenever needed. We also track the progressive motility and its correlation with field fertility. Only the best sexed semen is good enough.”

We have farmers who have experienced a 70% conception rate from X-Vik sexed semen

Jim Bruce,
Country Manager for Australia and New Zealand, VikingGenetics

How to get the best results with sexed semen

The way to get optimal use of X-Vik and Y-Vik is to combine the technology with other genetic herd improvement solutions.


  • Identify your best females to breed the next generation. Use genomic testing or herd testing for higher reliability — rather than relying on pedigree.
  • Categorise your female animals into breeding strategies. Calculate the benefits of different strategies in advance.
  • Choose the breeding strategy with the highest return on investment.
  • Save costs by raising the right number of replacement heifers.
  • Select high genetic merit bulls to match the heifer or cow’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • Use VikMate - a herd improvement programme to optimise the genetic level of your herd. VikMate helps you manage inbreeding, keep track of your strategy and eliminate errors.
  • Use X-Vik sexed semen for your best females and conventional semen for your other females. Or Y-Vik sexed semen for beef.
  • Harvest the results and achieve faster genetic improvement with a healthier, more productive and profitable herd.