During the past several years, extensive research has been done at the University of Missouri on fixed-time artificial insemination of beef cows. It is very important, especially with timed-AI programs, that producers follow the protocols precisely in order to get the best results. In addition to selecting a synchronization protocol, other factors also need to be considered in order to optimize the success of the AI breeding program. The researchers at MU have developed a list of key elements when considering a fixed-time AI program.
Herd Health. Pre-breeding vaccinations or de-worming should be completed at least 30 days prior to CIDR insertion.
Proper Nutrition. Average body condition scores should be at least 5.0 at time of CIDR insertion and maintained through the breeding season. Cows should be on a steady to increasing plane of nutrition.
Proven Reproductive History. The farm should have 85 to 90% pregnancy rates in a 60-day breeding season. Cows should average 45 days post calving at CIDR insertion, with a minimum of 21 days.
Animal Identification and Record Keeping. Cows and calves should be clearly and individually identified with legible ear tags and/or brands. Individual calving dates should be recorded for each cow.
Use Proven AI Sires. Use only AI sires that are proven to perform effectively in a fixed-time AI program. Use sires with high accuracy EPD’s.
Facilities. Adequate facilities to gather, sort and process cattle in a reasonable time period with reasonable effort are necessary. If available, use a portable AI barn during the insemination process. Ensure AI technicians are scheduled for the AI date and are capable of inseminating all cows that are synchronized.
Other AI Tips. Use 18.5 gauge, 1 ½” needles for intramuscular estrus synchronization products. At CIDR insertion, technicians’ hands and the CIDR applicator should be thoroughly washed clean of manure using a 2-bucket rinse of Nolvasan or Chlorhexidine solution diluted in clean fresh water. Restrict all breeding capable bulls from pasture for 10 to 14 days following AI. Pregnancy check with ultrasound approximately 70 days after AI. Be sure stress on cattle is reduced around the time of AI and maternal recognition.
Successful AI programs manage a multitude of small details very well. Some of these were listed above and will hopefully give you some practical items to monitor to help you manage your AI program and make it successful. Please call your MU Extension Livestock Specialist you have additional questions.
Source: Gene Schmitz, MU Extension Livestock Specialist