By Sandy Johnson, extension beef specialist
More and more producers are taking advantage of opportunities to incorporate targeted, high accuracy genetics using artificial insemination (AI) and estrous synchronization. While some may AI for two heat cycles, a majority will follow one round of AI with natural service bulls for the remainder of the breeding season. This brings up the question of how many bulls are needed for the remainder of the breeding season following an estrous synchronization program. If the AI program is successful, there should be correspondingly fewer females yet to be bred and fewer natural service sires needed However, some are concerned more bulls are needed to cover the subsequent cycle since return heats will be synchronized from the prior treatment.
Continue reading “How many natural service sires are needed after estrous synchronization?”
by Bob Weaber, Ph.D., cow-calf specialist
Over the winter, I’ve had several discussions with extension agents and producers trying to sort out what went wrong last summer during breeding season. Although the ‘wreck’ happened last spring or summer, the high percentage of open cows wasn’t discovered until preg check or, worse yet, calving. Accurate diagnosis of the problem is difficult at this stage but the circumstances give us pause to consider our production system and the critical control points. All too often when producers and specialists talk about ‘fertility’ we gravitate to a discussion of reproductive failure in cows and subsequent culling or management strategies. It is, however, important to recognize the importance of bull fertility as well, especially in commercial operations that rely heavily on natural service sires. Continue reading “Avoid unpleasant surprises, monitor bull and estrous activity during the breeding season”