Demand for dairy-beef genetics faces volatility  

Breeding trends in the dairy industry are creating new avenues for beef producers. 

International director Dr. Sophie Eaglen with the National Association of Animal Breeders tells Brownfield low beef supplies along with affordable sexed semen and genomic testing on dairy farms has caused a significant demand for dairy-beef crossed animals.

“Our members, our AI companies, have quadrupled the amount of beef bulls they have in their barns,” she says.

Eaglen says dairy farmers can focus the best dairy genetics on their replacement heifers and use beef crosses for other marketing opportunities.

“And then putting the lower milk quality animals on beef and selling them for more money,” she explains.

At the same time, she says the war in Ukraine along with the pandemic has caused volatility in the international market.

“They’re trying to replenish those animals so there’s a lot of questions for pure dairy-bred heifers from the world,” she shares.  “The U.S. though, because of beef and dairy doesn’t have the heifers so breeding purebred heifers again is going to be more interesting, and that can compete with the beef on dairy.”

Eaglen adds demand from Brazil for pure beef lines from the U.S. is growing which could cause competition issues for American producers in the future.

Brownfield interviewed Eaglen during the recent Michigan Beef Expo.

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