Improving Profits Through Reproduction:
A Commercial Producer's Perspective
South Dakota cattleman John Moes shares how he has incorporated estrous synchronization into ranch operations.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dec. 3, 2012) — According to the scientific community, by using reproductive protocols, commercial cattlemen can improve profits. John Moes of Moes Ranch and Moes Feedlot LLC, Florence, S.D., said he can attest to that. He explained his operation's use of reproductive methodologies to nearly 350 beef producers at the Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle (ARSBC) symposium in Sioux Falls, S.D., Dec 3-4.
Since 1987, the Moes Ranch has increased from 20 cows to 250. Moes started using artificial insemination (AI) in 1992. He explained that all cows get one chance to conceive to AI, and only about 50 late cows go with the bulls.
Moes began synchronizing heifers in the mid-1990s, and started synchronizing 2-year-olds in 2010. For the past four years, the ranch has used a PG 6-day CIDR® protocol followed by heat detection and timed AI of nonresponders. Only about 5%-10% are time-bred. The protocol achieved a 76% AI conception rate in 2009 and a 63% AI conception rate in 2010-2012.
The ranch develops 50-60 replacement heifers each year and has found that, through several different management options, having heifers at a lighter weight didn’t hurt conception rates, Moes said. He explained that at 970 pounds (lb.), 90% of the heifers had reached puberty.
In the mature cows, since using CIDRs and gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), despite environmental challenges, conception rates have increased.
Reproductive rate is only part of the equation. How do the calves perform? Forty-seven 2008-born steers posted an average yield grade (YG) of 3.2, backfat of 0.47 inch (in.), ribeye area of 13.8 square inches (sq. in.), with 76% grading low-Choice and 23% grading Select. One hundred sixty 2011-born calves averaged 2.93 YG, 0.56 backfat, 12.5 sq. in. ribeye area, with 3% Prime, 73% Choice [including 27% Certified Angus Beef® (CAB®)] and 24% Select. His latest mixed load graded 98% Choice and 47% CAB.
You can’t keep enough records, Moes stressed. “You really have to push the pencil to what we’re looking at anymore.” Everyone’s situation is different, and records will reveal your situation. He recommended working with a university to use new reproductive technology.
Since implementing estrous-synchronization protocols, his operation has improved conception rates, increased longevity, produced more uniform cattle and increased overall quality.
Moes spoke during Monday's ARSBC session focused on how to profit from reproduction. Visit the Newsroom at www.appliedreprostrategies.com to listen to his presentation and to view his PowerPoint slides.
Comprehensive coverage of the symposium is available online at www.appliedreprostrategies.com. Compiled by the Angus Journal editorial team, the site is made possible through sponsorship by the Beef Reproductive Task Force and LiveAuctions.tv.
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.