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Breeding Protocol Considerations                                                           The Midwest Cattleman · April 21, 2022 · P9

      By Steven Hughes, DVM, AETA Certified, Nebraska Veterinary Services

         Cattle    producers      have   breeding) or heat stress. If  breeding           can
      many options when it comes         a cow’s body temperature  also negatively
      to breeding their cows. They       climbs to 105° F for 5 min- affect           concep-
      can use natural service, turn-     utes, fetal loss may occur.  tion.
      ing the bulls they have care-      Many of the estrus synchro-        Semen Quality
      fully selected out with the        nization  protocols  will  bring     Semen qual-
      cows that will  benefit most       a thin, non-cyclic cow into        ity is extremely
      from the genetic pairings.         heat, but poor body condition      important when
      They can use artificial in-        may prevent pregnancy. Vac-        trying to get the
      semination (AI), allowing for      cination with a modified-live                           When choosing a breeding protocol, it’s important to con-
      a more careful and specific        vaccine within 20 days of                continued on   sider time, labor, skill, cow condition and cost.
                                                                                       page 14
      pairing of cows or heifers to
      bulls.  They can also use es-
      trus synchronization to assist
      in  narrowing  the  breeding
      season (and the subsequent
      calving season) as well as to
      concentrate  their  labor  in-
      puts. When choosing a proto-
      col, it’s important to consider
      time, labor, skill, cow condi-
      tion and cost. Below are some
      considerations for each of
      these protocols and pointers
      for having the most success
      in your breeding season.
         There are many protocols
      for estrus and ovulation syn-
      chronization. Most protocols
      require the use of hormones
      and specific administration
      timing of these hormones.
      Once estrus is synchronized,
      heat detection is important.
      The heat detection protocol
      with the lowest cost is natu-
      ral heat detection using heat
      patches. For assistance with
      synchronization,         consult
      your veterinarian or a qual-
      ified breeding service.

         Natural breeding usual-
      ly gives the best conception
      as live semen is better than
      frozen semen, and the bull is
      much better at heat detection
      than any human. However,
      natural breeding does not
      typically allow a producer
      the flexibility of using multi-
      ple sires in one group of cows.
      Bull-to-cow ratios vary based
      on pasture terrain, stocking
      density and bull age, with
      younger bulls covering fewer
         Poor conception rates can
      be very  frustrating for pro-
      ducers and can result from
      poor quality semen, stress at
      breeding, stress at embryo
      implantation (15 days after
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