As A-I Improves, So Do CattleTue, 26 Mar 2013 12:38:37 CDT
If your opinion of artificial insemination is, "been there, done that," you may want to give it another look.
"I think that fixed-time A-I has certainly gotten easier," says Cliff Lamb of the University of Florida. "So, the first point is to certainly consider fixed-time artificial insemination, especially folks that have used A-I in the past and have never tried fixed-time A-I because they're a little afraid of seeing a cow in heat, they need to A-I her at that time."
New protocols and synchronization methods have eased the pressure on cattlemen. Fixed A-I does not rely on heat detection.
"And what that does, for the average producer who does not know how to artificially inseminate cows, what he can do is schedule somebody from an A-I company way in advance to be at his farm on a specific day at a specific time and that A-I technician can A-I the cows."
Pregnancy rates vary by herd and environment, says Willie Altenburg of Genex Cooperative.
"We've found that fixed-time insemination has worked so well in heifers and cows with the new protocols that we've got, we can get lots of cattle pregnant on the first day of your breeding season. Some people say, 'I'm not completely satisfied with 50 or 60 percent of my females pregnant,' but we're talking about the first day of your breeding season and that takes on a different picture for you."
Florida research shows that cows exposed to A-I have a $49 advantage compared to those in natural service groups, Lamb says.
"And the main reason for that is it kick-started cows which were not cycling to become pregnant sooner and by the end of the breeding season we had more cows that became pregnant."
A-I sired calves often have many advantages, too. New technologies allow more of them to carry the genetics of bulls that have the total package.
"It's just kind of a stepping stone of how the genetics are being utilized more and more and being able to incorporate things like carcass traits to be able to be utilized so we can harvest cattle with outstanding carcass merit in order to be utilized to enhance the eating quality so that our producers and consumers enjoy that benefit.
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