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Copyright © 2015
Angus Journal

Estrus Synchronization:
A Historical Overview

by Kindra Gordon for Angus Productions Inc.

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS (Jan. 28, 2010) — Jim Lauderdale provided a historical introduction, reviewing the research that has led the livestock industry to its current strategies for estrus synchronization and beef cattle reproduction as he addressed participants at the Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle (ARSBC) workshop hosted in conjunction with the 2010 Cattle Industry Annual Convention and NCBA Trade Show in San Antonio, Texas.

Lauderdale worked as a research scientist with the Upjohn Company Animal Health sector for 31-years. Today he works as a private consultant. His research with prostaglandin F2a led to the worldwide approval for the use of prostaglandin F2a, Lutalyse® sterile solution, for use in cattle, mares and swine.

In his opening remarks, Lauderdale emphasized that synchronization systems must meet the needs and wants of producers to be successful — and ultimately must help produce high-quality beef with no related animal welfare concerns for the products used to meet consumers' needs.

He also stressed that reproductive efficiency is one of the most important factors for successful cow-calf enterprises. “Certainly, in the absence or reproduction, there is no cow-calf enterprise,” he stated from his proceedings.

Lauderdale’s historical review dated back to the 1920s, when research to understand estrus and estrous cycles was initiated in the United States by Fred McKenzie and his graduate students at the University of Missouri using sheep. From that beginning, several research studies began to be conducted and build the foundation for knowledge about bovine reproduction and forthcoming synchronization systems. Lauderdale highlighted the following research milestones:

1930s-1960s — Cattle estrus, ovulation, estrous cycle and postpartum interval were documented.

1940s-1960s — Estrous cycle management techniques using gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) and progesterone were developed, leading to the concept of estrus synchronization and commercialization.

1950s-1980s — Hormones controlling the estrous cycle and corpus luteum (CL) were documented. Repromix (1965), MGA (1968/1997) and Syncro-Mate-B (1982) were approved for estrus synchronization of cattle. Prostaglandin F2a products were approved for estrus synchronization and GnRH products were approved to treat ovarian follicular cysts of cattle (1970s-1980s).

1980s-2000s — Ovarian follicular waves were documented. managing ovarian follicles was documented to be essential to successful timed AI (TAI).

1970s-2000s — Progestogen, PGF2a and GnRH protocols were developed. Lauderdale says this helped achieve:

In closing, Lauderdale reminded workshop attendees that synchronization protocol compliance is required for consistently achieving the best pregnancy rate.

Lauderdale also acknowledged that during the 1950s and 1960s, a major detriment to AI in beef cattle was the requirement for daily estrus detection and AI over 60 to 90 days or more. But, over the decades, discovery research has led to applied research, which has led to more user-friendly products for estrus synchronization and breeding management of cattle today. Moreover, use of today’s synchronization protocols can increase efficiency for beef production, contributing both to enterprise economic viability and positive environmental impact — as well as delivering safe, wholesome, high-quality beef to consumers.

Click here for speaker's PowerPoint. (5.2 MB pdf)
Click here for speaker's proceedings. (384 KB pdf)
Click here for audio to presentation. (5 MB mp3)

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. For additional coverage — including summaries, proceedings and audio for each presentation — visit the newsroom at For API coverage of the Cattle Industry Convention, 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.