The spring breeding season is fast approaching for most South Dakota ranchers if not here already. A growing number of producers use artificial insemination or AI as a reproductive management tool. AI allows ranchers to utilize highly proven sires with superior genetics that otherwise would not be available.

A successful artificial insemination program is the result of many separate steps done correctly. Just as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, mistakes in any one area such as insemination timing, semen handling, or AI procedures can result in reduced pregnancy rates. The fact that AI is normally only done for a few days a year on a beef operation can result in some of the skills becoming “rusty”.

Video resources

Sometimes “show and tell” is the best approach to make sure that a concept sticks. With that in mind, SDSU Extension has produced two videos on AI procedures. The most recent video Detection of Standing Estrus shows examples of the primary and secondary signs of estrus in beef cattle and discusses how changes in estrous detection rate can affect overall pregnancy rates. The second video Semen Handling Procedures was released during the summer of 2015.

Both videos can be found on the SDSU iGrow YouTube Channel.