Many cow-calf producers are asking whether AI or natural service bulls are more cost effective for their herd.

“What a lot of people don’t get is the cost benefit of using AI is equal or less than using a bull. Not only will exposing females to estrus synchronization kick- start non-cycling females, but AI gives us a chance to incorporate genetics that are important to us,” says Cliff Lamb, beef cattle specialist, University of Florida–North Florida Research and Education Center. “A lot of producers will spend $6,000 to $8,000 on a bull and won’t consider that an increased cost but will consider spending $15 to $20 on synch products and an AI tech as an increased cost.”

The biggest cost producers should examine is the cost of the bull and the bull to cow ratio, Lamb says. “But you also have to keep in account the cost of keeping him around—about $600 a year,” he adds.
To help producers determine which investment is right for them, UF-NFREC and Zoetis created the AI Cowculator to calculate economic feasibility for AI based on a producers inputs. The Android, iPhone and iPad compatible app is free from your app store.