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Challenges to Selection of Products to Implement Breeding Management Protocols

DES MOINES, Iowa (Sept. 7, 2016) — It’s all about hormones. Progestogens, prostaglandin and gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) are a few of the hormones involved in regulation of the estrous cycle in cattle. Naturally occurring or synthetic versions of these hormones are used, independently or in combination, for heat synchronization — the manipulation of the estrous cycle to allow a group of heifers or cows to be bred within a desired time frame.

Michigan-based reproductive physiologist Jim Lauderdale.

Cattle producers who have implemented any of the numerous synchronization protocols understand that it’s all about administering the hormones at the correct time and at correct dosages. But most producers probably are unaware of how much time and money it took to make each of the synchronization products available commercially. According to Michigan-based reproductive physiologist Jim Lauderdale, it takes from eight to 15 years to put any new product on the market, and an investment of up to $40 million.

Formerly a scientist with the Upjohn pharmaceutical company and now a private consultant, Lauderdale talked about how such products are developed and tested during the Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle (ARSBC) symposium hosted Sept. 7-8 in Des Moines, Iowa. He also explained how the Beef Reproduction Task Force provides science-based evaluations and recommendations for synchronization protocols.

“There is a plethora of protocols — 10 for heifers and eight for cows,” said Lauderdale. “Protocols range from using a single injection of prostaglandin, to the scheduled administration of multiple products. They all work in situations where appropriate and when applied correctly.”

Lauderdale said the pharmaceutical products used for synchronization of estrus must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine and become available only after thorough testing. Each drug is tested for purity, potency and duration of product stability. Studies also evaluate the difference between effective dosage and toxic dosage to assure a margin of safety for target animals. Additionally, studies evaluate the efficacy of label dosage. Testing is also performed to assess every product and ensure that its proper use does not pose threats to public safety, food safety or the environment.

Lauderdale also noted differences in the availability of various synchronization management products, due to government regulation. Accordingly, the progestogen melengestrol acetate (MGA) and controlled internal drug release (CIDR) devices are available over the counter without a prescription, while prostaglandin and gonadotropin products are available only by veterinary prescription.

He said the Beef Reproduction Task Forces reviews new research yearly, to determine if new synchronization protocols will be recommended to the industry. Task Force members look favorable upon protocols that minimize animal handling, are effective with as few drug administrations as possible, and are effective for both cycling and non-cycling females.

Lauderdale spoke during Wednesday’s ARSBC session focused on the "doing it right." Visit the Newsroom at www.appliedreprostrategies.com, which features comprehensive coverage of the symposium, to view his PowerPoint, read the proceedings or listen to the presentation. Compiled by the Angus Media editorial team, the site is made possible through sponsorship by the Beef Reproduction Task Force.

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