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Copyright © 2015
Angus Journal

Synchronization Can
Offer Boost for Heifers

FORT COLLINS, COLO. (Dec. 2, 2008) — Estrus synchronization protocols offer many opportunities for beef cattle operations, particularly among heifers, David Patterson informed attendees at the 2008 Robert E. Taylor Memorial Symposium: Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle.

Patterson, a professor on the animal science faculty at the University of Missouri, said effective estrus synchronization programs can help:

“Improvements in methods to synchronize estrus create the opportunity to significantly expand the use of AI in the U.S. cow herd,” Patterson said. For producers, that can mean more access to better genetics, as well as the opportunity to maintain a shorter breeding and calving season, resulting in a more uniform calf crop and added profitability.

University of Missouri Extension Educator David Patterson discussed synchronization protocols for heifers. Patterson acknowledged that although hormonal treatment of heifers and cows to group estrous cycles has been a commercial reality for more than 30 years, beef producers have been slow to adopt this management practice. He suggested this is due to past failures, which happened when females were placed on estrus synchronization programs but failed to reach puberty or resume normal estrous cycles following calving.

However, Patterson said, research during the past two decades has helped develop more-effective and economical estrus synchronization protocols. He cited the use of MGA and CIDR® inserts as being highly effective for heifer breeding programs.

There are numerous protocols for utilizing these products, Patterson said. “The choice of which system to use depends greatly on a producer’s goal.” As one example, Patterson said the decision to use the MGA Select and 7-11 Synch methods in heifers should be based on careful consideration of age, weight and pubertal status of the heifers involved.

Patterson recommended producers work with a beef cattle reproductive specialist to design a synchronization program suitable to their individual herd needs.

He emphasized that the feeding of MGA is specifically approved for estrus synchronization in heifers only. Producers who have used MGA to synchronize cows in the past should transition to the CIDR to comply with FDA regulations concerning extra-label use of medicated feeds.

To listen to Patterson’s presentation and hear an in-depth summary of the research available using MGA and CIDRs, to view the accompanying PowerPoint, or to view other presentations from the symposium, visit the newsroom at

The Robert E. Taylor Memorial Symposium is conducted by Colorado State University every other year to provide current, research-based information for improving profitability in the beef cattle industry. The ARSBC program was developed by the Beef Cattle Reproduction Task Force to improve understanding and application of reproductive technologies, including AI, estrus synchronization and factors affecting male fertility. In 2008, CSU and the Task Force collaborated to provide the Dec. 2-3 symposium in Fort Collins

— by Tosha Powell & Kindra Gordon


Click here for accompanying PowerPoint as a pdf file (980 KB).
Click here to listen to the audio (6.8 MB mp3).

Editor’s Note: This article is available as a news release to redistribute per an agreement between the symposium hosts and Angus Productions Inc. Click here to submit a request for a high-resolution photo of the speaker. For additional information visit the newsroom of