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Historic bull semen sale raises $17,000 for charity

Zach RelphCountryman
The Belmont Red cattle breed's genetics was among semen auctioned by CSIRO.
Camera IconThe Belmont Red cattle breed's genetics was among semen auctioned by CSIRO. Credit: Seifert Belmonts

Almost 5000 straws of rare bull semen, mainly tropical composite beef cattle breeds whose genetics are not readily available anymore, have gone under the hammer to raise more than $17,000 for charity.

CSIRO’s collection of bull semen, which had been stored in liquid nitrogen at a livestock breeding facility in Queensland, was auctioned from last Wednesday to Friday.

Most of the 150 lots were sold through the auction, conducted online, with a seven-straw lot of Red Angus semen topping the auction at $60 per straw.

The auction’s next-highest bid was a lot of two straws of Tuli semen at $36 per straw.

Proceeds will be distributed among Drought Angels, Queensland Country Women’s Association and Beyond Blue.

The semen CSIRO auctioned was collected during the 1980s and 1990s from a range of beef breeds, mainly the tropical Bos indicus or Bos indicus-influenced breeds.

Semen from the Belmont Red, Australia’s first tropical composite breed, was among genetics auctioned.

CSIRO had used the genetics for research purposes aimed at improving the genetic quality of Australia’s cattle lines to cope with the harsh climate.

CSIRO livestock geneticist Sigrid Lehnert hailed the auction, despite not being able to guarantee the semen was viable and having no genetic information.

Dr Lehnert said livestock research played a crucial role in breeding progression.

“With the new genetics we were instrumental in helping the livestock industry improve and diversify the genetic quality of the national herd,” she said.

The Belmont Red was bred at and named after CSIRO’s former cattle research station at Belmont in Central Queensland.

In addition to the Belmont Red, other bull semen auctioned was from Tuli, Brahman, Adaptaur, Red Angus, Afrikaner, Simbrah and Charbray.

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