Beef Cattle Artificial Insemination
Beef producers know the best genetics are available as semen
intended for artificial insemination (AI). Yet fewer than 10% of beef producers use the technology each year. There
are many reasons that people do not use estrus synchronization and AI including labor and facilities and many still
question if it is cost effective or not.
The use of estrus synchronization and artificial
insemination can increase returns by increasing
weaning weight (due to both age and genetics), by raising the market price with a more uniform calf crop, and by
improving herd productivity with higher quality replacement heifers. They can also reduce costs because fewer bulls
are needed and less labor is required during a more concentrated and predictable calving season.
On the other hand, fewer bulls mean fewer bulls
available to sell as culls — a reduction in potential income. The need for synchronization products, labor,
technicians and perhaps facilities will also increase thecost associated with estrus synchronization and artificial
When all these impacts are compiled, however, the costs of pregnancy
aren't significantly different between natural service and estrus synchronization and AI. Of course, if labor is
high, if semen costs are excessive, or if conception rate to AI is low, the cost per pregnancy can dramatically
increase. The benefits of estrus synchronization and artificial insemination will depend greatly on the management
of a beef herd. A herd with adequate nutrition, facilities
and labor may benefit greatly while a herd lacking in any of those areas may not benefit at all. Careful
consideration and proper planning are crucial when implementing these technologies but for many farms, they may be
Commercial producers who specialize in maternal or terminal trait
selection and who adopt synchronized breeding with artificial insemination can make rapid genetic progress.