Making AI Work in the Southwest
AI technician offers tips for successful and profitable application of AI in the Southwest.
RUIDOSO, NEW MEXICO (Aug. 29, 2018) — Some of the typical road blocks Clint Sexson runs into out on the job include time, labor, facilities and perceptions. The All West Select Sires large-herd specialist shared some of those reasons with those attending the 2018 Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle workshop hosted in Ruidoso Aug. 29-30.
“To get people on board we have to think up different approaches to implement an AI program in their unique situation,” said Clint Sexson, All West Select Sires.
“If producers don’t think an AI program will work, most of the time it won’t,” Sexson said. “You need everyone on board, right down to the guy bringing the cattle up to the one fixing the fences.”
Sexson focuses on the large herds spread out across thousands of miles in the southwestern United States. These producers are hard to get on the bandwagon of this technology because they are limited by resources, regulations of public land and time.
“A lot of cattle are on public land, so they have constraints from the Forest Service or the BLM (Bureau of Land Management),” Sexson explained. “You cannot have a permanent facility on that land. You have to take the business to the cows.”
Usually this finds Sexson traversing down gravel or dirt roads with his portable pens and chute. Sometimes, it takes two crews to get through these larger herds efficiently and to synchronize the timing of the AI protocol.
“To get people on board we have to think up different approaches to implement an AI program in their unique situation,” Sexson said. “It may take a trained crew to go work the animals. Or it could be using a drone to locate the cattle before bringing them in to be worked. For the protocols to work, the facilities have to work efficiently.”
To implement AI in bigger programs with these types of challenges, there needs to be communication, understanding and commitment from all parties involved. There also needs to be a willingness to go where the uncharted roads lead. Usually the scenery is worth it.
“We always have to be looking forward for something that will work and be profitable,” Sexson added. “We have to make it work on both sides of the fence to get as many cows bred as possible while maintaining good relationships.”
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