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How to score more bred cows

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“How do we get more cows bred?”

George Perry, of South Dakota State University, frequently mulls over this question. Perry, a beef reproduction specialist, has studied reproductive physiology for nearly two decades.

A few years ago, researchers from South Dakota State University analyzed factors affecting expression of estrus before fixed-time artificial insemination. They found body condition ahead of breeding largely affects expression of estrus, says Perry.

“(With) the spring, summer, and fall we had, we had a lot of cows lose body condition,” Perry said. “Depending on how this winter holds, we could go into spring in tough shape. We need to be watching these cows, making sure we’re getting condition on them prior to calving.”

Producers should monitor body condition after calving season as well. Perry believes expression of estrus and fixed time artificial insemination go hand-in-hand. He recommends the Estrotect breeding indicator to determine whether or not cows are in estrus.

The aforementioned study indicates a 27-percent improvement in fixed time artificial insemination conception rates for animals showing estrus prior to AI.

“We’ve used Estrotect patches since I’ve been at South Dakota State. Even with a fixed time AI protocol, we put patches on the animals. If we are running at 70- to 80-percent (estrus), conception rates are good. If we go in at 20- to 30-percent, we can step back and say, “Let’s breed the ones that have shown estrus, give the other ones extra time, and evaluate what’s going wrong. It’s a great insurance policy to get better conception rates.”

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