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Copyright © 2015
Angus Journal

Get Your Plan in Synch

Planner helps choose best protocol, plot schedule and analyze economics of various synchronization options.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dec. 3, 2012) — When talking about synchronization of estrus, we spend a lot of time talking about how to get the cattle ready for a successful artificial insemination (AI) program, Sandy Johnson told attendees of the 2012 Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle (ARSBC) symposium in Sioux Falls, S.D. People are part that process, too. Using the “Estrus Synchronization Planner,” available as a free download at, can help producers get the people involved in the program in synchrony, too, said the associate professor and livestock specialist at Kansas State University’s Northwest Research and Extension Center, Colby.

Michael Gonda Sandy Johnson walked attendees through a spread-sheet-based decision-making tool that helps producers choose the right synchronization protocol, visualize the schedule and communicate that to others involved in the program’s success.

“It’s a spreadsheet-based tool that we have developed to help bring things together,” Johnson said, describing the planner compiled by the Beef Reproductive Task Force.

Johnson explained that the task force was formed in 2000 when a group of extension specialists with research appointments wanted to join forces in a multi-state effort to effectively communicate to beef producers the latest information related to reproductive technologies. Rapid development of new systems to synchronize estrus and their associated acronyms created confusion in the industry, which resulted in a need to embark on a coordinated effort to provide clarity. Including others from industry, the task force standardized the terminology being used and developed protocol sheets providing recommendations for synchronizing heifers and cows.

“Those recommendations then represent a joint effort not only of the academic group but also working together with those in the rest of the industry … to create this short list of protocols to make your job easier of trying to select an appropriate protocol for your situation,” she explained. The task force reviews and updates the protocols annually and hosts ARSBC symposia to help disseminate the information to improve success with reproductive technologies.

The “Estrus Synchronization Planner” is a spread-sheet-based decision-making tool that incorporates task-force recommended protocols to help producers choose the right protocol, visualize the schedule and communicate that to others involved in the program’s success.

When you download the planner from the Iowa Beef Center (IBC) website, you will be asked to provide your name and email address, Johnson said, noting that that information will allow the task force to send you updates.

The goals of the planner are to direct you to recommended protocols, recognizing slightly different treatments exist for cows vs. heifers, and to generate a barn calendar that tells you what to do on what day and at what time.

Click here to view larger image of Table 2: Opportunities
when damaging exposure is most likely to happen.

Walking symposium attendees through the process of using the planner, Johnson explained that it starts by asking you the date you want to start breeding, the time of day and then how much time you want to spend detecting heat. Based on your responses, the program gives you a list of protocols recommended to fit your situation.

Johnson said the feature cattlemen find-most useful is the calendar generated for the protocol selected. That schedule allows you and others involved in your synchronization program to see upfront if there would be a scheduling conflict with any treatment on the schedule. If you don’t like the schedule, you can modify it from the front end.

The program also allows comparison of the cost of different synchronization programs, allowing you to input specific costs, such as for heat detection and pharmaceutical products, she explained. The program calculates a cost per AI pregnancy based on projected heat detection and conception rates.

Getting the right thing done on the right day, delivering the right product on the right day and at the specified intervals will help you complete a successful synchronization and AI program, Johnson said.

Johnson spoke during Tuesday's ARSBC session focused on the A.I. technique. Visit the Newsroom at to listen to this presentation and to view the PowerPoint slides and proceedings paper submitted by Daly to accompany it.

Comprehensive coverage of the symposium is available online at Compiled by the Angus Journal editorial team, the site is made possible through sponsorship by the Beef Reproductive Task Force and

Editor's Note: This article was written under contract or by staff of the Angus Journal. To request reprint permission and guidelines, contact Shauna Rose Hermel, editor, at 816-383-5270.