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Characteristics of Successful Breeding Programs: An AI Industry Perspective

Keeping the equation of reproduction top of mind is critical to successful AI programs.

Sandra Levering“You can’t get around the equation of reproduction,” stated Sandra Levering, a Kansas-based ABS Global representative. “The total can’t be larger than the smallest percentage, so every team member has to perform at a high level.”

What’s the secret to successful application of artificial insemination (AI) in beef breeding herds? Sandra Levering, a Kansas-based ABS Global representative, was among the industry professionals asked to share their opinions during the Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle (ARSBC) Workshop hosted Aug. 29-30 in Manhattan, Kan. She emphasized the importance of accountability and dedication among all team members involved in implementing an AI program, along with open communication.

Levering cited the “Equation of Reproduction,” A x B x C x D = % Pregnancy, and its factors:

  1. A = Percentage of herd members detected in heat and inseminated or time-bred.
  2. B = Inseminator efficiency percentage.

  3. C = Percentage fertility of the herd.
  4. D = Semen fertility percentage.

Levering said the percentage of herd members detected and inseminated or time-bred is dependent upon an effective estrous synchronization program that utilizes proper administration of the correct products administered in accordance with an appropriate protocol. She advised producers to take the time necessary for effective heat detection, if used, and to take advantage of available detection tools.

Inseminator efficiency is achieved by using a qualified AI technician with knowledge, experience and a passion for the job. An adequate amount of help and sound, safe facilities are needed to complete the job in timely fashion.

Levering said herd member fertility is influenced by genetics, herd health management and nutrition. She also emphasized the importance of good stockmanship, to minimize stress and save time, and sound decisions regarding post-AI relocation or transportation of animals.

Semen fertility level will be affected by the attention paid to storage and handling prior to use, as well as the adequacy of equipment and adherence to correct procedures at the time of use. Producers also should be aware that fertility varies among sires.

Levering reiterated the importance of a dedication, cooperative spirit and ready communication among all who participate in an AI breeding program.

“You can’t get around the equation of reproduction,” stated Levering. “The total can’t be larger than the smallest percentage, so every team member has to perform at a high level.”

Levering spoke during Tuesday’s ARSBC session focused on application of reproductive technologies. Visit the Newsroom at, which features comprehensive coverage of the symposium, to view her PowerPoint, to read the proceedings or to listen to the presentation. Compiled by the Angus Journal editorial team, the site is made possible through sponsorship by the Beef Reproduction Task Force. To access video of the presentations, visit the Beef Reproduction Task Force page on Facebook.

The 2017 ARSBC Symposium was hosted by the Task Force and Kansas State University Research & Extension. Next year’s symposium will be Aug. 29-30 in Ruidoso, N.M.

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