Quicker Improvement with Artificial Insemination

Quicker Improvement with Artificial Insemination

Angus beef cattle Angus beef cattle

August 10, 2016

Artificial insemination has been utilized in the cattle industry for decades now, so it's a time-tested tool which allows cattlemen to make genetic improvements to their herd at a faster rate than the typical course of nature would permit. But even so, there are a number of factors to weigh carefully when considering whether AI is the best choice for your own cattle operation.

On the one hand, simply turning out a bull is probably easier – and cheaper.

But Lorna Marshall, of Select Sires, which specializes in cattle reproductive services, explained more about the pros of using artificial insemination. “It allows you to improve the reproductive efficiency of your cow herd, because we shorten your calving interval, we get more out of those cows to calve in the first 21 days. It can be used as a risk management tool to remove some of the risk that you would find with unproven bulls. And then I think the other advantage is that it really allows you to select genetics that are going to fit your marketing environment as well as your feed environment.”

The large variety of genetics available with AI shouldn’t intimidate producers. One strategy is to narrow choices by selecting for desired EPDs, or expected progeny differences, or other traits. Marshall said, “That can be fleshing ability, maybe improving feet, things like that. So there’s a wide range of discussions that we have with our producers in terms of selecting bulls. The fewer bulls you use, the more uniformity you’re going to have. Particularly, if you’re trying to improve certain traits, we may want to really target a narrow group of bulls that are going to allow you to move forward for things like heifer pregnancy, or marbling, or something specific that you’re trying to improve.” 

Proven AI sires can foster rapid improvement, without sacrificing their herd’s maternal instincts. “We can make those genetics available to you at a very reasonable cost that’s competitive with the bull and yet, because they are so genetically balanced and really good across the board, they’re going to allow you to make genetic improvements in a lot of ways, including end product merit,” explained Marshall. 

For more information on hitting the high-quality beef target, visit cabpartners.com or angus.org.

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