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Copyright © 2015
Angus Journal

Narrowing the Selection Process

FORT COLLINS (Dec. 2, 2008) — Choosing the right estrus synchronization protocol can be a daunting task for producers, Sandy Johnson, Kansas State University Extension livestock specialist, said Tuesday during the Robert E. Taylor Memorial Symposium: Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle in Fort Collins. Johnson presented two assistants to help guide producers through the decision-making process.

Sandy Johnson, K-State Extension livestock specialist, presented Task Force-recommended synchronization protocols for cows and heifers and walked attendees through the Estrus Synchronization Planner available through the Iowa Beef Center.

Recommended protocols

First, the Beef Cattle Reproduction Leadership Team has compiled a short list of protocols recommended for heifers or cows based on various levels of heat detection.

“When in doubt, use something off these sheets,” she advised, explaining that the leadership team had considered available research to establish the recommendations. “If someone suggests you use something else, ask them what data they have to support it.”

Johnson presented a page summary of protocols for cows and a page summary of protocols for heifers, each broken out by desired level of heat detection. The protocols included the following:

Heifer protocols for heat detection:

Heifer protocols for timed artificial insemination (TAI):

Heifer protocols for heat detection and TAI:

Cow protocols for heat detection:

Cow protocols for TAI:

Cow protocols for heat detection and TAI:

The protocols are detailed in the symposium proceedings and in the PowerPoint accompanying Johnson’s presentation, which is available in the newsroom at

In all cases, Johnson said, be sure to use the correct synchronization product at the recommended time and follow Beef Quality Assurance practices at all times.

Synchronization planner

Another helpful assistant is available through the Iowa Beef Center, Johnson explained. The Estrus Synchronization Planner is an Excel spreadsheet-based tool intended to help producers apply synchronization protocols more effectively.

The Web module available at allows producers to insert preferences such as the day they want to start breeding or the desired number of trips they are willing to put cattle through the chute, along with cost considerations. The result, Johnson explained, is a calendar for administering the protocols and a cost breakout including the estimated cost per AI pregnancy.

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 Johnson’s presentation, review her PowerPoint or view other presentations from the symposium, visit the newsroom at

— by Shauna Rose Hermel

Click here to see accompanying PowerPoint as a pdf file (560 KB).
Click here to listen to the presentation (3.9 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