What is in this article?:
- Bee Synch can help boost beef quality and ranchersâ€™ profits
- Handling issues
- A fixed-time artificial insemination method could add thousands of dollars in net value to a calf crop.
- Bee Synch process requires that the cow come through the chute only three times, including artificial insemination.
- Synchronization of ovulation and fixed-time artificial insemination is becoming an increasingly prominent choice for astute cattlemen.
Bee Synch, a synchronization of ovulation technique developed for Bos indicus -influenced beef cows, yields fixed-time artificial insemination pregnancy rates of up to 55 percent. Dr. Gary Williams, a reproductive physiologist at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Station-Beeville, said this makes the use of artificial insemination more feasible for a greater number of producers interested in using superior sires in their breeding program.
Williams said one of the main concerns from ranchers considering adoption of these types of technologies is the number of times required to pen cattle, labor costs and stress-related conditions associated with cattle handling. However, the Bee Synch process requires that the cow come through the chute only three times, including artificial insemination.
“This is more attractive to ranchers wanting to use AI to improve herd genetics and marketability, but also wanting to limit the amount of cattle handling required to achieve it,” he said.
Synchronization of ovulation and fixed-time artificial insemination is becoming an increasingly prominent choice for astute cattlemen, Williams said.
“Although it is unlikely in the near future for such technology to overtake traditional South Texas management that uses natural service, the expansion of the national and international market for quality beef, and the current shortage, is creating increased opportunities for producers,” Williams said.
Natural service sires representing Angus, Hereford and other similar breeds noted for meat quality are already being used extensively in southern beef herds. Using semen from superior artificial insemination sires from these breeds is the next logical step. Alternatively, Brahman-influenced composite breeds carrying genes for increased meat quality can also be used.
“If Brahman-influenced cows are handled in a minimal-stress environment, are in good body condition (a minimum body condition score of 5, on a 1 to 9 scale), and are at least 45 days post-calving, you can routinely get 50 percent to 55 percent of these cows pregnant with a single insemination.”
Williams said cleanup bulls, turned in seven to 10 days later, can be used to service those not conceiving, beginning about three weeks after artificial insemination, as they will still be synchronized. Alternatively, another round of artificial insemination can be used before bulls are turned in.
“Using Bee Synch, the ability to infuse highly-desirable genetic traits for meat quality into commercial beef cattle production in the southern U.S. should become an increasing reality,” he said.