Breeding Season Planning Resources
The breeding season will soon be underway for spring calving herds. Understanding the factors that contribute to a successful breeding season in heifers and cows can help cow-calf producers effectively manage for this event. Whether producers are utilizing natural service or estrus synchronization programs with artificial insemination, the beefrepro.org website offers numerous resources that will benefit planning and management. This website is hosted by the Beef Reproduction Task Force which is a multi-state extension group, whose objective is to provide timely information regarding applied reproductive strategies in beef cattle. Current recommended estrus synchronization protocols for both heifers and cows along with several resources related to understanding the estrus cycle in cattle are available.
The Beef Reproduction Task Force hosts an annual “Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle Symposium.” This event is considered to be the premier national event in beef cattle reproductive management and has a long history of providing the latest information on the application of reproductive technologies. The 2020 Symposium was held online and past Symposium webinars and proceedings for the event are at the website. A wide range of topics are covered related to cowherd reproduction — such as nutritional interactions, management and bull fertility.
A second resource is a webinar titled “Principles for Improving Conception Rates with Estrus Synchronization and AI” by Nebraska Extension Beef Cattle Reproductive Physiologist, Dr. Rick Funston. This webinar is available at beef.unl.edu. The presentation gives an overview of principles to remember and utilize to enhance the likelihood for estrus synchronization and artificial insemination success.
A third helpful resource is the Estrus Synchronization Planner which the Beef Reproduction Task Force annually reviews and updates with the most recent approved estrus synchronization protocols. This free Excel® spreadsheet tool can be utilized to help identify the best estrus synchronization protocol based on desired goals. The planner also provides a detailed calendar with the correct products to use along with dates and times based on the selected estrus synchronization protocol. Correctly following an estrus synchronization protocol is critical to success. This planner helps clarify details in an easy to use format. New for 2021 is a version which allows the user to schedule multiple groups of heifers or cows for estrus synchrony over a 12 month period.
Are you seeking to evaluate the costs and benefits of artificial insemination as compared to natural service? The Breeding Cost Cow-Q-Lator is an Excel® spreadsheet tool that can assist producers in calculating the costs and value associated with natural service and artificial insemination to help producers compare the two options to each other. This resource is available at the beef.unl.edu website.
The development of estrus synchronization protocols for beef cattle that can be used for either natural service or artificial insemination has provided greater opportunities for cattle producers to benefit from these technologies. Taking time to review the different options that are available and evaluating how they might be utilized can help producers select the tools that are right for them.
Interviews with the authors of BeefWatch newsletter articles become available throughout the month of publication and are accessible at https://go.unl.edu/podcast.