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Copyright © 2015
Angus Journal

Animal Scientist Warns Against Leaving Proven Technology On the Shelf

JOPLIN, Mo. (Aug. 31, 2011) — David Patterson laments the slow adoption by U.S. cow-calf producers of proven technologies for synchronized artificial insemination (AI). The University of Missouri (MU) reproductive physiologist spoke during the Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle (ARSBC) Conference, hosted in Joplin, Mo., saying important, convenient and economical management practices are underutilized. He said methods to synchronize estrus for fixed-time AI (FTAI) should be particularly appealing to more producers.

“We have on-the-shelf technologies, including protocols allowing AI by appointment,”Patterson stated, “but they’re not being used.”

Dave PattersonDave Patterson says the economic incentives are real for using fixed-time AI protocols to high-accuracy bulls to meet the high-quality specifications demanded by today's consumer.

Patterson said many producers recognize that genetic improvement can be hastened by the use of proven sires through AI. They resist, however, due to perceptions of higher costs associated with the time, labor and facilities required to implement the technology. Patterson said they are overlooking the potential economic rewards of well-managed synchronized AI.

“Overlooked are the economic benefits to the herd,” Patterson said. “There is a huge opportunity to manage calving patterns.”

Synchronized AI is most frequently applied to replacement heifers, utilizing semen from calving-ease sires, to facilitate an abbreviated calving season. Patterson said synchronization protocols for FTAI offer greater convenience and, with long-term protocols involving CIDR®s (controlled internal drug release devices), replacement heifer pregnancy rates are comparable to protocols requiring more time-consuming heat detection.

Patterson said synchronization protocols can also be effective in triggering cycling among anestrus cows. Late-calving cows can be ‘moved forward’ — made to cycle sooner. This results in a tightening of the next calving season. Calves are more closely grouped by age, which can enhance marketing. By using AI sires with high-accuracy EPDs, producers can add value to their calves and target markets offering premiums for high quality.

The cost, Patterson added, is competitive with natural service utilizing bulls of average price.

Patterson said the economic incentives are real and have not gone unnoticed by the competition. Unless producers take advantage of the technology, he said he fears the U.S. beef industry stands to lose its grip on global markets seeking high-quality beef. He cited Brazil as an example of a country in which producers recognize the opportunity afforded by AI.

“They’re going to clean our clock,” Patterson stated, “if we don’t make use of the technology.”

Patterson kicked off the first day of presentations at the ARSBC convened Aug. 31-Sept. 1 in Joplin. Complete coverage of the symposium will be available online at Compiled by Angus Productions Inc. (API), the site is made possible through sponsorship by the Beef Reproductive Task Force, SEK Genetics, and Coverage includes summaries of the speaker presentations, PowerPoints, proceedings and audio.

Editor's Note: This article was written under contract or by staff of Angus Productions Inc. (API), which claims copyright to this article. It may not be published or redistributed without the express permission of API, publisher of the Angus Journal, Angus Beef Bulletin, Angus e-List and Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA. To request reprint permission and guidelines, contact Shauna Rose Hermel, editor, at 816-383-5270.