NAAB Regular Members report over 70 million total unit sales in 2021

May 3, 2022



NAAB Regular Members report over 70 million total unit sales in 2021, a 4% increase despite Covid-19 challenges


The National Association of Animal Breeders (NAAB) members report annual units for the categories of domestic sales, export sales, custom collection and imported units for dairy and beef breeds. With approximately 95% of the US AI industry represented by NAAB members, these annual statistics provide an accurate insight of the sales of US bovine semen.


Covid-19 has impacted the global dairy industry with challenges in the supply chain from production through to the retail sector. However, even when faced with those hurdles, the US bovine semen industry established another record year as it achieved 72 million total units reported for all categories combined. This exceeded the previous record amount established in 2020 by 3 million units representing an overall annual increase of 4%. Dairy producers in the USA purchased more semen in 2020 than previous years, however the type of semen they purchase has changed. Dairy producers have many options available to help them improve the profitability of their operation. This includes female sex sorted semen to produce more replacement heifers and beef semen (sometimes sex sorted male) to produce crossbred calves that have a higher value for beef production.  While dairy unit sales in the USA decreased by 1.2 million units, the number of beef on dairy units increased by 1.5 million units representing a net increase of 300,000 total units. Similarly, the female sex sorted dairy units increased by 700,000 units which should result in an increase of heifers born.  Dairy producers work strategically and utilize these different products to generate sufficient female calves for replacements while increasing their contribution to the growing demand for beef. 


The total number of dairy unit sales were level with the prior year at 50 million units while beef unit sales established a new record reaching 22 million units. Beef as a percentage of total units increased from 28% of the total units in 2020 to 31% in 2021. Dairy and beef exports along with domestic beef units made significant contributions to the new record. The export markets contributed 2.4 million units of increase representing 78% of the total unit increase.  


The domestic dairy units reported for the US declined by 7% or 1.2 million units with a market size of 17.2 million dairy units. This is on top of a 1.1-million-unit decline in 2020.  However, domestic beef units sold in the US increased by 1.5 million units representing an increase of 21%. Custom collected dairy units were down about 6% while custom collected beef units increased by 10%.     


Even with the extra challenges of restricted international travel, rising fuel prices and conflicts in some key areas, the international demand for US genetics continued to expand. NAAB members used the tools that are available to work with affiliates and distributors and to reach the international producers. New records were set for both dairy and beef units exported. Just over 30.5 million units of dairy semen were exported representing an increase of 1.2 million units for a 4% increase over 2020.  Additionally, beef semen exports reached 8.3 million units for a 17% increase. The top two export markets for total units in 2021 switched places with China replacing Brazil as the top market for both units and dollars. The UK slotted in at number 3 for unit volume replacing Russia. The top 35 international markets all imported product valued over $1 million dollars in 2021.  These markets account for 95% of the total dairy export units and nearly 99% of the beef export units.     


The changes in management and utilized reproductive practices on both dairy and beef operations in North America are also being implemented globally. Domestic demand for sex sorted dairy semen increased by 700,000 units for a 10% increase and exports increased by 269,000 units or 3%.  On the beef side, sex sorted beef semen in the US increased by 437,000 units or 320% reaching a total of over 500,000 total units.  As mentioned above, beef on dairy units in the US increased by 31% whereas beef semen used in US beef herds decreased by 2%. 


NAAB is the national trade association for artificial insemination businesses.  In that capacity, NAAB has the responsibility to negotiate with international markets to resolve trade restrictions that might limit access to product from the USA.   NAAB members account for about 95% of dairy and beef semen sold in the USA and market semen to more than 100 countries around the world. NAAB members also participate in the Certified Semen Services (CSS) program to assure that the semen they provide to both domestic and international producers meets or exceeds the minimum health standards as well as semen quality standards.    


More information about NAAB and its annual statistics can be found on


May 3rd, 2022