Choosing the right estrus synchronization protocol can be a daunting task for producers, said Sandy Johnson, Kansas State University Extension livestock specialist, speaking during the Robert E. Taylor Memorial Symposium: Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle in Fort Collins earlier this month. Johnson presented two tools to help guide producers through the decision-making process.
1) Protocol Short List.
The Beef Cattle Reproduction Leadership Team has compiled a short list of protocols recommended for heifers or cows based on various levels of heat detection the producer is willing to employ.
"When in doubt, use something off these sheets,” Johnson advised, explaining that the leadership team had considered available research to establish the recommendations. "If someone suggests you use something else, ask them what data they have to support it.”
She described recommended protocols for cows and for heifers, each broken out by desired level of heat detection:
Heifer protocols for heat detection:
- one-shot prostaglandin (PG)
Heifer protocols for timed artificial insemination (TAI):
- CO-Synch + CIDR
- CIDR Select
Heifer protocols for heat detection and TAI:
- Select Synch + CIDR and TAI;
- MGA-PG and TAI
Cow protocols for heat detection:
- Select Synch
- Select Synch + CIDR
Cow protocols for TAI:
Cow protocols for heat detection and TAI:
- Select Synch and TAI
- Select Synch + CIDR and TAI
Follow this link to find the symposium proceedings and go to Johnson's presentation.
In all cases, Johnson said, be sure to use the correct synchronization product at the recommended time and follow Beef Quality Assurance practices when administering products.
2) Synchronization planner.
Another tool is available through the Iowa Beef Center, Johnson said. The Estrus Synchronization Planner is an Excel spreadsheet-based tool intended to help producers apply synchronization protocols more effectively. You can insert preferences such as the day they want to start breeding or the desired number of trips they are willing to put cattle through the chute, along with cost considerations. The result, Johnson explained, is a calendar for administering the protocols and a cost breakout including the estimated cost per AI pregnancy.