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Hereford and Red Angus Heifers Recruited for Genomics Research

The University of Missouri is recruiting 2,500 Hereford heifers and 2,500 Red Angus heifers to participate in a heifer puberty and fertility genomic research project. Heifers should be registered Hereford, registered Red Angus, or commercial Hereford or Red Angus. Hereford x Red Angus crossbred heifers targeted for the Premium Red Baldy Program would also be a good fit for the research project. Producers must be willing to work with a trained veterinarian to collect the following data: ReproductiveTract Scores collected at a pre-breeding exam 30 to 45 days prior to the start of the breeding season. PelvicMeasurements (height and width) collected at the same pre-breeding exam 30 to 45 days prior to the start of the breeding season. Pregnancy Determination Using Ultrasound reporting fetal age in days. Ultrasound will need to occur no later than 90 days after the start of the breeding season. In addition, heifers must have known birth dates and have weights recorded eithe

BIF 2017: Economic Impact of Estrus Synchronization and Artificial Insemination

Justin Rhinehart, standing in for Les Anderson
University of Kentucky
University of Tennessee

Why don't more producers use estrus synchronization and AI?

Labor/Time
39%
Cost 17%
Too Complicated 17%
Lack of facilities 11%
Other 14%
Does not work 2%

The cost per pregnancy for a bull costs between $60 and $75 depending on pregnancy rate. The cost per pregnancy is approximately similar between AI and natural service, if calculated on an equivalent production basis.

Estrus synchronization and AI improve profitability. Study looked at 1,197 cows from 8 herds. 

Herds that used fixed time-AI saw a higher weaning percentage, shorter days to calving, greater weaning weight per cows exposed, resulting in AI herds being $49 more profitable per calf. 

The greatest benefits of AI are realized after multiple generations. Part of this is improved genetic merit of cow herd from picking replacements from AI sired heifers.

Goal was to increase pounds of calf weaned per pound of cow exposed. In two herds used in long term demonstration project, cows were large, breeding season was long, and operation efficiency was low.

Over 9 years of fixed time AI, cow weights decreased from 1550 pounds to 1350 pounds. However, due to the use of selection of sires, weaning weights increased from 450 to 550 pounds. Pounds weaned per cow exposed increased from 340 pounds to 440 pounds. 

Estrus synchronization and AI is profitable in both the short and long term. Returns are greatly increased if producers take advantage of added value of their product.

Decker Take Home Message:
We have heard several times, including at BIF, that weaning weights are not increasing in the beef industry. This demonstration project clearly shows that wean things are done the right way (artificial insemination, use of EPDs for sire selection) we do see improving efficiency in terms of cows weights and weaning weights. Genetic selection works! Access to better bulls through AI works!

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