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"Twins of twins of twins, all bred by Cogent Sexed Semen!"

One producer seeing exceptional results from Cogent Sexed Semen is Cheshire-based John Roberts, who farms at Oak Farm in Knutsford alongside his daughter Jennifer and granddaughter Becky. He has a dairy herd of 80 Holstein-Friesians that are averaging 8,000 litres. One of the very first farmers to use Cogent Sexed Semen since it was launched  20 years ago in 1996, he has been 100% Cogent Sexed Semen ever since.



Herd health is a priority on the farm, and John is committed to breeding cows that are BVD free. John explains the importance of a disease free environment for fertility - "Since Cogent opened in 1995, all proven bulls began to be regularly tested for BVD before entering the stud, and at the time our idea was to use disease free bulls on disease free cows. By using BVD free bulls with stable genetics we have achieved a BVD free status."
Following this, John had several cows that were antibody free and wanted to multiply these, and with the use of our sexed semen he was able to do this quickly with the promise of a heifer calf at the end.

In 2010, Oak Farm invested in DeLaval robotic milking machines, which have had a positive effect on John's own health as well as also improving the health and milk yield of the cattle too. After installing the robots, he now selects Cogent bulls with the traits that are suitable for the robots. "The best bull we have used is Twist, he is the perfect bull for robotic milking. We have found heifers bred by Twist to be of excellent temperament with well placed and shaped teats for the clusters. They are in and out of the parlour with no trouble, and with no kick offs" explains John.
The herd's expansion has been aided by using Cogent Sexed Semen across the herd. Sires are chosen with genetic traits such as excellent teat placement, temperament, and increasing disease resistance in mind, and have included Cogent Twist, Supershot, Mardis Gras and Milo.

"Having previously used Shaker, the half brother to Shuttle, we had to move on and try fresh lines. Currently we have Milo daughters in the pipeline which I am excited to see the results of once we start milking."

A strong, healthy, vigorous calf is a must for John. "As soon as they're born they should breathe spontaneously, showing activity and intelligence almost immediately, from the second it's born. Cogent sires consistently produce high quality, easily born calves with good temperaments that are ultimately what I need."

Over the years, Cogent Sexed Semen has achieved over a 92% heifer calves. John explains that conception is vital - "The cows were regularly breeding bull calves and so we really wanted heifers with any surplus being sold. One year we inseminated 15 heifers with 14 holding in calf to the first service. The one that didn't hold we discovered that the straw wasn't thawed properly!".

A favourite of John's, named Figaro Rocket (born 2001) has had 35 offspring in her lifetime including daughters, granddaughters and great granddaughters. Interestingly, John explains "Her current offspring are twins of twins of twins, all bred by Cogent Sexed Semen!"

John and his family have never looked back, as the herd at Oak Farm goes from strength to strength. "I have been using Cogent Sexed Semen for 20 years now, and have seen tremendous results. The conception rates we have seen are exceptional being 70% to our first service, and our fertility has greatly improved. I have never seen my cows as healthy. Cogent Sexed Semen has lowered our vet bills, and I have seen a vast genetic improvement in the herd at Oak Farm".