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Copyright © 2015
Angus Journal

Setting the Stage: Where We've Been
and Where We Are Today

FORT COLLINS, COLO. (Dec. 2, 2008) — Kicking off the Robert E. Taylor Memorial Symposium: Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle, Jim Lauderdale of Lauderdale Enterprises presented a brief historical overview of research and development that has gone into protocols to manage estrus synchronization and ovulation in beef cattle.

Reproductive efficiency is the most important factor for successful cow-calf enterprises, Lauderdale said. “Certainly, in the absence of reproduction, there is no cow-calf enterprise.”

Jim Lauderdale of Lauderdale Enterprises presented a historical overview of estrus synchronization, including the researchers who contributed their knowledge and the progression of synchronization products and protocols.

Lauderdale explained that in 1935 data from physiological studies were not available, so early researchers Chapman and Casida statistically analyzed 179 breeding records to establish the length of the estrous cycle as 21 days. Their records provided the first records available on the estrous cycle.

As early as 1961, Jim Wiltbank investigated the breeding records for leading beef breeds. His investigations revealed that the largest losses in potential calf crop were failure to conceive or early embryonic death and calf death at or shortly postpartum.

The purpose for those early studies, Lauderdale said, “was identical to why we are here today: How to get more cows pregnant early in the breeding season to calve earlier so you wean more pounds of calf.”

From the first physical descriptions of estrus and the postpartum interval, research progressed to evaluate hormonal factors influencing the estrous cycle and how to manage the estrous cycle by administering hormones such as progesterone. Commercialization of estrus synchronization protocols began in 1965, Lauderdale said, but wasn’t practical for cattlemen for another 10 to 15 years.

Lauderdale acknowledged individual research efforts and the great minds that contributed to the base affecting research today. The proceedings that accompany his presentation provide a historical reference to the progression of knowledge and synchronization tools available from the 1930sto today.

Lauderdale also provided a brief history of the Beef Reproduction Task Force, which is responsible for the ARSBC program. Extension personnel formed the Task Force in 2000, responding to a need to communicate effectively to beef producers the latest information related to reproductive technologies.

Printed proceedings for the symposium may be purchased for $25 (CD copies for $10) by contacting Nancy Weiss, Colorado State University Extension assistant, at 970-491-7604.

The first objective of the Task Force, Lauderdale expl>ained, was to coordinate efforts to provide clear recommendations for beef cattle estrus synchronization protocols and to standardize acronyms to eliminate confusion among producers.

To that end, the first ARSBC symposium was conducted in Manhattan, Kan., in 2002. Representatives from pharmaceutical, veterinary and AI industries were invited to participate in the Beef Reproduction Leadership Team in 2004.

An important goal of the leadership team is to promote wider adoption among cow-calf producers of reproductive technologies that are cost-effective and contribute to the economic viability of the beef enterprise.

The leadership team has developed a standardized nomenclature for the various estrus synchronization protocols and established a short list of recommended protocols, which it updates annually, for beef heifers and cows, Lauderdale explained.

– by Tosha Powell

Click here for accompanying PowerPoint as a pdf file (244 KB).
Click here to listen to the presentation (3.8 MB mp3).

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. To listen to Lauderdale’s presentation, view the accompanying PowerPoint or view other presentations from the symposium, visit the newsroom at

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