Company News

Semen Care: Proper Handling = More Pregnancies


Don’t let semen handling be a “forgotten link” in your herd. Below are 12 steps herd owners and managers, herdsmen, inseminators and professional AI technicians can put in to practice to help get more cows pregnant.

Locate all items necessary to thaw semen and perform AI, including tweezers, water bath and thermometer, AI gun, sheaths, scissors, paper towels, plastic sleeves, and lubricant. Work close to the liquid nitrogen tank, preferably in a clean and dry location.

Check the water bath temperature using a thermometer. Most semen packaged in .5-mL or .25-mL straws should be thawed in water 95˚F/35˚C.

Keep an accurate semen inventory including storage location.

Work at or below the frost line in the neck of the tank to minimize the possibility of premature thawing of semen straws. After locating and grasping the desired cane, remove the straw with tweezers. Quickly transfer the straw to the water bath, while gently lowering the cane back into the canister, and the canister back into storage position. When thawing more than 1 straw simultaneously, do not allow straws to touch in the water bath.

Semen should be thawed for a minimum of 45 seconds. Use a watch or clock to monitor the time.

Remove the straw from the water bath and dry thoroughly with a paper towel. Water will kill sperm. Cut the crimped end of the straw at a right angle, keeping the straw covered by paper towels during the process.

As you load the straw into the gun, very quickly check to make sure you have selected the right bull.

Pull the sheath over the gun and secure it with an o-ring or by twisting the sheath on the raised spiral. Be certain the straw is seated ... Read More...

Recording Disease Key In Solving Conception Problems

Mark E. Carson BSc. (Agr). MSc., Gencor Herd Reproduction Analyst

Often when a herd is having reproductive problems focus is given to what is currently happening to the cows in the herd.  Sometimes, however, looking back on our historical data we can find the root causes of many fertility issues.

The transition period, for example, is the most critical time in a cow’s lactation.  It’s during this time that cows are at a higher risk of developing disease; and, disease during the transition time can lead to reduced production and fertility throughout the entire lactation.

During a herd visit last winter, we visited a dairy with excellent disease recording and calving information.  Unfortunately, though, this herd was battling reduced conception, especially at first service.  Luckily, part of their disease recording protocol included documenting all diseases that occurred to their transition cows.  To detect problems in the herd, an accurate starting point needs to be determined.  Having recorded all disease information using a herd management program such as Dairy Comp 305, an owner, herdsman or herd advisor can more efficiently pinpoint reproduction problems and their causes. 

With this information available, we began to see that a significant percentage of the cows experiencing conception problems were the same cows that had problems at calving.  We identified that a group of cows that had Metritis during the summer months were now the same group of cows battling conception.

Metritis is a costly disease, reducing cow’s production and conception rates.  Research published by Overton and Fetrow (2008) showed that cows with Metritis were on average open for 33 days longer than cows that did not have the disease.  A 2006 University of ... Read More...

Semex's Maughlin Storm Still Making Headlines

Semex’s iconic Maughlin Storm continues to make headlines more than 13 years after his initial proof as his 800th daughter scored EX this week.  Keriday Storm Sasha, like the 799 Storm daughters before her, has shown exceptional development, durability and strength netting her a score of EX-91-CAN in her fourth lactation. 

An original Semex Master Series™ sire, this most recent accomplishment sets Storm well above all other sires in Canada, as the sire with the most EX daughters ever.  By comparison, his sire Madawaska Aerostar has 53 EX daughters from 22,856 classified and his grandsire, the breed patriarch Hanoverhill Starbuck, has 418 EX daughters from his 37,960 classified. 

Storm’s statistics speak for themselves with 800 EX daughters of his 42,899 daughters classified, giving him an incredible 69% Good Plus or better ranking still today.  Among these daughters are some of the most tremendous and high impact cows of our time.  These cows have been and still are bull mothers, record milk producers, index toppers, brood cows, barn favorites and show winners.  Real cows working around the world.

As a sire of sons, Storm has proven himself again and again, siring nine Semex sires including modern day Master Series™ sires 0200HO07030 Ladino Park Talent *RC, 0200HO03067 Pursuit September Storm *RC, 0200HO04624 Brigeen Givenchy and former #1 LPI sire Hartline Titanic among many others.  On the bottom side of the pedigree, Storm’s genetics may make an even greater impact, being the maternal grandsire for 21 Semex sires, with superstar Braedale Goldwyn and his brothers included in the rankings. 

As the careers of many of these sires are just beginning at Semex, Storm’s genetics and the value that he brings to dairymen worldwide is certain to continue for many ... Read More...

Semex Master Series™ Sire Buckeye Works at Lansi Farm

As a Semex Master Series™ sire 0200HO04779 R-E-W Buckeye has proven himself time and again.  With his second crop behind him, backing up his proof, we know that Buckeye has stood the test of time, exceeded breeders’ expectations and is poised to make an impact on dairies seeking bulls with durability, reliability, efficiency and profitability assured in their proof.  Buckeye daughters are the real cows on real dairies that dairymen love to work with. 

Sylvain Landry’s Lansi Farms in Saint-Albert, Quebec has 958 head with his 370 cows milked by six robotic milkers.  Sylvain’s Buckeyes are low-maintenance cows that work hard and breed back easily, contributing positively to the herd’s bottom line.  Experience has shown Sylvain that that his Buckeye daughters are positive contributors that increase his profitability.    

"We have 83 registered Buckeyes,” says Sylvain Landry Lansi Farms owner.  “Right from birth, we were immediately impressed by Buckeye’s calving ease.  These calves weren’t very big, but they showed lots of vigor and will to live.  We’re now milking 22 Buckeyes.  They are very consistent and we love working with these young animals. They are very lively and are aggressive eaters who have adapted very well to our environment.  On average, they go to the robotic milker 2.6 times a day.”

“They walk on excellent feet and legs with good heel depth,” Sylvain continues.  “Their rear udders are high, wide and well-attached, with a nice texture, a strong ligament with teats that the robot easily finds.  Not only do they produce well, but they also reproduce easily.  Seven out of 10 became pregnant within 69 days or less.”

“In a large herd like ours, a cow that we ... Read More...

Popular Sire Pursuit September Storm *RC Passes Away

Semex regrets to announce that popular Red & White sire, 0200HO03067 Pursuit September Storm *RC recently passed away.

As one of several Maughlin Storm sons proven at Semex, September Storm *RC was unique not only in his *RC status, but also because he was a son of the popular Shower family.  His dam was a VG-85-2YR-CAN 4* Astre from the EX-CAN 13* Glen Drummond Shower herself.  This pedigree made him the outcross sire many Red & White breeders had been looking for worldwide, making him popular before he even received an official proof in October 2002. 

September Storm *RC quickly gained popularity in the Red & White show circles and sale rings.  His daughters dominated heifer and milking classes, earning several Premier Sire banners including the coveted Premier Sire Award at World Dairy Expo in 2007 and 2008.  Sale topping daughters by September Storm *RC have made their mark as well, reaching record breaking prices, with Fradon SS Jordan being at the top of the list at $150,000 in 2007.

Most recently September Storm also sired several Black & White show winners including the 2008 Res. All-Canadian Jr. 2 Yr Old, ABF September Cheese VG-89-3YR-CAN, the 2008 Kingsmill Futurity Champion at World Dairy Expo, Miss Macland Sept Juliet EX-91-USA and the 2009 Grand Champion of the European Holstein Show, Planillo September Sara EX-92-ESP, showing his appeal to all bloodlines. 

“Not very often do you have a Red Carrier sire that could compete with the best Black & Whites, so September Storm became popular very fast with Red & White breeders,” says Pierre Laliberte, Semex Alliance Senior Vice President, Genetics and Research.  “His largest contribution to the Red & Whites may be that he was used by many Black & White breeders.  He will spread the red gene ... Read More...

SEMEXX: It's Worth It!

Aaron Henderson, US Jersey Specialist

In the USA and around the world low milk prices, plummeting equity and lingering high feed costs have left many dairy operators taking a hard look at all costs associated with their businesses, knowing that to be profitable today you have to be more than just efficient.

Cows once worth $2500 US or more are now being sold across the country for $1000 US or less, and springers are now valued at half of what they were once selling for… many times bringing less than $1200 US.

Tough conversations are happening in offices and around dinner tables every day in an effort to increase profitability, whether they’re milking 50 or 5,000 cows.

One of those conversations is whether or not it is worthwhile to pay a premium price for sorted semen, and the added value of producing your own replacements.

Each dairy’s situation is a slightlydifferent, but for Aardema Dairies in southern Idaho, the extra dollars spent is one cost they’re not willing to sacrifice.

The Aardema family along with their General Manager Jeff Wendler, and herd managers John Andersen and Jordan Leak continue to sort through

pedigrees and proofs to find bulls to meet their criteria to use in their herds to make top genetic heifer replacements.

This sifting and winnowing process includes using Semex’s SEMEXX™, gender selected semen.

Click here for the entire story.

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Buckeye: Definite 2nd Crop Success!

Mike West, Semex Alliance Product Support Specialist & Sire Analyst

Approximately seven years ago the AI industry as a whole purchased many sons sired by the popular Marathon BW Marshall. In October of 2005, Semex graduated several BW Marshall sons, but just one rose to the top of the TPI listing. 0200HO04779 R-E-W Buckeye has maintained his top TPI rankings, making him one of Semex’s most successful sires and another example of Semex’s strong USA proving program.

Today he’s reached another milestone being named a Second Crop success. Buckeye himself was one of the earlier BW Marshall sons to be proven at Semex, and quickly drew international attention as not only a mating sire, but sire of sons. Out of a VG-86-2YRUSA

GMD DOM 2* Rudolph dam, and then a 67,000 kg EX-94-2E-USA Luke, his family’s production capacity has transmitted through the generations. His emergence as a superstar on the international scene was due to his success on the TPI rankings and pedigree appeal with six more generations of VG or EX after the Luke, but also because of the tremendous promise dairymen saw in their Buckeye daughters.

Click here for the whole story.

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Semex Promotes From Within: Higgins & Sheahan Take On New Responsibilities

Semex is pleased to announce the promotion of two Semex employees to key management positions. 

Chris Sheahan has been promoted to the position of ai24™ Program Manager.  Chris joined Semex five years ago as a District Sales Representative in east central Wisconsin.  In this role Chris has grown his two sales territories by effectively adding value to each client visit and promoting Semex’s product, programs and services.

As the ai24™ Program Manager, Chris will work closely with Semex customers interested in improving their reproductive performance, Semex sales staff and Regional Sales Managers promoting the ai24™ program. Chris’ technical knowledge, approach to account management and understanding of the reproductive challenges facing today’s dairymen make him an ideal match for this newly created position.  To reach Chris and find out more about Semex’s ai24™ program call 1-877-545-ai24 or email

Jeremy Higgins has been promoted to the role of Regional Sales Manager, Central Region.  In this position Jeremy will oversee the development and management of the Central United States in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.  As a District Sales Representative in Michigan since 2004, Jeremy has continuously grown market share and utilized key account management while providing solutions to his dairymen. 

Working as the Regional Sales Manager for the Central Region, Jeremy will work closely with the District Sales Representatives in these states to strategically grow Semex’s business by capitalizing on the unique suite of products, programs and services Semex offers that are profitable solutions for today’s dairyman.  To contact Jeremy please call 616-292-3064 or email

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In Summer’s Heat Keep Breeding Window Open A Little Longer

Brenda Lee-Turner, Semex Alliance Marketing Communications Specialist

With temperatures topping +90˚F in many parts of the North America, dairymen are struggling to get their cows bred back on time.  Heat and its partner in crime, humidity, wreak havoc on dairies, pushing milk production and pregnancy rates down and herd health problems up.  Incidences of stress on cows can occur at temperatures as low as 72˚F when combined with higher humidity, dramatically reducing profitability on the dairy.   

Looking for solutions to keep the window of breeding opportunity open a little longer and combat these issues, Semex has designed its Repromix™ product to help get those problem, repeat breeders back into calf, reducing days open and into their next lactation and the milking line.

The theory behind Semex’s Repromix product is related to a phenomenon called capacitation.  Capacitation is a series of changes all sperm from mammals must undergo while in the female reproductive tract in order to fertilize an egg.  This process includes the modification of proteins on the outside of the sperm cell by the cow’s reproductive tract.  Without this process, sperm cannot fertilize an egg.  As timing with all reproduction is key, the time needed for the capacitation process to occur varies from species to species and in our case, bull to bull. 

“Based on our theory, bulls can have different capacitation profiles,” says Tom Kroetsch, Semex Alliance Director Production & Quality Control.  “But (all sires) will still have very good fertility when used in normal fertility cows in most herds with good reproductive management.” 

In general the timeline for capacitation in bull semen is generally 4 to 12 hours, but ... Read More...

Semex Jerseys In The Driver's Seat!

Aaron Henderson, Semex US Jersey Specialist/Corporate Accounts Manager The Jersey breed is the fastest-growing dairy breed on the planet and as we accelerate into the next decade, Semex’s Jersey program is truly in the driver’s seat!  While many of our competitors have focused on individual traits such as inbreeding, JPI, JUI and show type, Semex’s Balanced Breeding philosophy and global sampling program have worked to provide a diversified lineup that meets the needs of dairymen everywhere.  The Semex Jersey lineup is well suited to meet the needs of dairymen everywhere, whether they milk 50, 500 or 5,000 cows.  Our genetics are poised to reach individual requirements and to help dairymen reach their profitability needs, efficiency goals and durability requirements.  Reducing Inbreeding: Outcross ability is measured by EFI (Expected Inbreeding Coefficient) and bulls that have a 6.0 and lower EFI are widely considered to be genetically diversified.  Semex has four bulls in its active line up under 6.0 EFI: 0200JE0103 Valleystream Julian; 0200JE0420 Pine Haven Senior; 0200JE0129 Bridon Jamaica; and 0200JE01310 Bridon Remake Comerica.  These sires are all outcross sires to imported Danish and New Zealand bloodlines.  JPI (Jersey Performance Index):  Many dairymen select on JPI and try to focus on the breed’s top 25 sires.  A list dominated by Jace sons, Semex has three bulls ranked in the top 25, none of which are Jace sons: 0200JE00990 Sunset Canyon RP Militia (Perimiter x Haug); 0200JE00944 Maackdairy Region (Legion x Lemvig); and 0200JE00992 Jenks Paramount Summit (Paramount x Bold). JUI (Jersey Udder Index): Semex is home to four of the top 20 ranked JUI sires, as much as anyone in the industry, with three ranking in the top six.  Following the April 2009 proofs the breed average for JUI was 3.33, 18 Semex sires are above 3.33 JUI with our active lineup averaging 5.00 JUI.   Show Type: In 2008 Semex was honored to be the home of the World ... Read More...