Economic Value Of Testing For A Protein In Semen
-Stacy Skopp, Roy Ax and Trent Teegerstrom
Fertility traits in bulls are more important to buyers and producers than most others in beef cattle herds. Certain proteins in bull semen have been found that increase fertility, including the fertility-associated antigen (FAA). FAA-positive bulls have been found in previous studies to increase conception rates by almost 16%. Increased fertility rates by FAA-positive bulls increased the number of cows bred early in the breeding season, thus allowing for more calves with increased weaning weights. Increased weaning weights will, in turn, increase selling prices.
Working with the scientist who developed FAA-cassettes, FAA-cassette vendors, and an agricultural economist, we are using past data to compute an equation that can help show buyers and producers in the Southwestern United States the benefits of using and testing for FAA-positive bulls over time. Since semen is already collected for breeding soundness exams (BSE) on bulls put up for sale, we are attempting to show that the cost for addition of a cassette being used in combination with the BSE testing will increase that herd's conception rate, birthing output, and increase calf weaning weights. This equation will in the end help show a multi-year fertility effect of how bringing in FAA-positive bulls can increase a producer's profitability depending on where its herd began.
This study is to be started for the Southwestern United States, but eventually may be used nationwide. Fertility-associated antigen is a new science that is being studied to help the cattle industry increase production and profitability.