Synchronizing aids reproductive management

Mar 9, 2012

It’s that time of year, after spending the winter finding quality bulls, when producers are planning their summer breeding season schedules. The question of using estrus synchronization and artificial insemination (AI) still plays in the back of many producers’ minds. The dislike of change keeps many producers from leaving their natural comfort zone.

AI first became popular in the 1960s. The dairy industry was the first to jump on the AI technology wagon, quickly recognizing the many benefits. The beef industry was a little slower to climb on board, but recent improvements in technology, and a growing benefits list, has more and more beef producers reaping the rewards.

The history of estrous cycle synchronization and the use of AI in cattle is a testament to how discoveries in basic science have been applied to advance the techniques used for livestock breeding and management.

The use of synchronizing has allowed for a larger pool for sire selection, increased calving ease, provided a more uniform calf crop, shortened calving season, and reduced labor during calving season, according to

Why should I synchronize?

Synchronization systems for cows and heifers continue to improve and become more reliable and more productive, in addition to boosting profits.

Synchronizing cattle reduces costs, saves labor, and adds value to both your breeding herd and the calves you sell.

Synchronization programs get a high percentage of pregnancies in the first week of the breeding season, resulting in:

• Increased pregnancy rates by increasing the potential number of heats during the breeding season. Cows that display estrus during the first week of the breeding season will have three opportunities to conceive during the first 45 days, while those that don’t will have two or less.

• Increased pregnancy rates by inducing a fertile estrus in many anestrous cows.

• Increased pregnancy by facilitating longer postpartum intervals when the next breeding season begins. Late calving results in late conception, later calving and culling.

• Increased weaning weights with earlier-born calves that are heavier at weaning time. Beef cows that conceive early in the breeding season will produce calves that weigh more just because they are older.

• Increased uniformity of your calf crop with groups of the same age, same weight and same color which are worth more. With a shorter calving season, selling more value in uniform groups is an attainable goal.

•Increased predictable performance results from using proven AI genetics.

The results allow you to utilize sires with proven performance, whether you’re breeding heifers or cows. Plus, with AI, you can use the very best bulls available. You can also breed for any target you want, including replacement females, rapid early growth or carcass gridbased premiums for quality, yield or both.

• Increased cow productivity is another AI benefit.

Heifers that are born early in the calving season are more likely to conceive early in their first breeding season and subsequent breeding seasons, wean heavier calves, and are more profitable during their lifetime. — Traci Eatherton, WLJ Editor