While domestic dairy semen sales stagnated in 2018, domestic beef sales have exploded. The trend shows no sign of slowing in 2019.

“Total beef semen sales showed a total increase of 33.14 percent from 2017 to 2018 to reach a total of 11.688 million units,” said Jay Weiker, president and chief executive officer at the National Association of Animal Breeders (NAAB). “This did establish a new record for the total number of beef units sold — breaking the former record set in 2015 by 2.1 million units.

“Domestic beef units increased to over 4 million units and represented a 59 percent increase,” Weiker went on to say at the 73rd annual NAAB meeting held August 21, 2019, in Madison, Wis. That 4 million unit mark does not include export sales. “We saw a significant increase in our exported beef semen units.”

That’s the highest mark in U.S. history.

Domestic dairy treads water
“Total dairy had an increase of just over 1.6 percent from 2017 to 2018 to reach 49.106 million units,” continued Weiker. “Dairy domestic semen sales decreased 5.73 percent; dairy exports were up 11.5 percent. For dairy semen exports, that followed a 16 percent increase the year before. The international demand for U.S. dairy genetics continues to grow with more countries recognizing the strength of U.S. genetics and the genetic evaluation system,” said the longtime genetic expert.

“Even though there are sanctions in Russia, tariff disputes with China, and most of the world, semen exports have not been adversely affected,” said Weiker. “When we combine the two, dairy and beef, we show an increase of 6.52 percent, and it reached 60.794 million units in 2018. This established a new record . . . the previous record was 57 million units. So, we beat that by 3.7 million units. This was also the first time we broke through the 60 million unit barrier.

“In 2017, the year before, we had increased by 4 million units,” added Weiker. “Over a two-year period we increased by 7.7 million units — that’s a huge increase.”

Beef continues to grow
“Where are we at today?” Weiker asked the audience, referring to the first six months of 2019 sales compared to the first six months of the prior year.

  • Dairy domestic semen sales have decreased by 11.5 percent
  • Beef domestic has skyrocketed 49 percent
  • Dairy exports have climbed 4 percent
  • Beef exports are up 100 percent

Exact beef-on-dairy totals
It is somewhat challenging to separate exactly where all the beef semen is being used. However, collective wisdom is that a lot of those new sales are for use on dairy cattle.

When dissecting the data, there isn’t complete information on the following:

  • How much beef semen was already being used on dairy cows before the beef semen sales trend increased?
  • How much of the increase in domestic beef semen is really going into dairy cows as beef-on-beef matings could also be climbing?
  • Lastly, are dairy units down due to producers drawing down inventory in their tanks due to financial conditions or are those dairy farmers truly purchasing less dairy semen? It could also be a combination of these two factors.

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2019
September 2, 2019
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