ORANGE CITY, Iowa — The goal of estrus synchronization and artificial insemination in the cow herd is to get females bred in a short period of time, which reduces the length of the calving season and increases uniformity of the calf crop at weaning.
The concept sounds straightforward, but the process is not quite as simple. Success depends on matching the estrus protocol with the animal to be bred and precise timing of insemination.
To aid producers in these decisions, the Iowa Beef Center just released an updated version of the popular Estrus Synchronization Planner. This Excel software includes not only standard protocols using conventional semen, but also five protocols for sexed semen involving either fixed-time artificial insemination or split-time artificial insemination.
The updated version of the software is available free of charge from the Iowa Beef Center at www.iowabeefcenter.org. When visiting the website, select ‘Tools’ in the menu bar and then ‘Software’ to get to the Estrus Synchronization Planner.
Two versions may be downloaded – an original version which outlines the protocol for one group of females or a multigroup version to develop protocols for up to twelve different groups of females over a 12-month period.
Currently, there are 17 preferred standard protocols – eight for beef cows and nine for beef heifers. The planner steps users through protocol selection based on inputs of the type of cattle, amount of heat detection desired, and the breeding date and time.
The planner has some great attributes. It will create a synchronization and breeding calendar with exact dates and times when hormones should be given and/or removed and when heat detection and breeding should occur. It allows the user to compare costs between protocol systems and provides a cost response analysis. There are also supporting documents in the planner that are helpful, such as detecting estrus and tips for success.
Calving is about to begin, and breeding season is just around the corner. Download the Estrus Synchronization Planner to get a head start on the breeding protocols for your heifers and cows.
For more information or to ask questions, contact Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Beef Specialist Beth Doran at 712-737-4230 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Iowa State University Extension and Outreach