Economic analysis favors use of reproductive technologies

Farm Forum

A new study shows the economic benefit of utilizing estrous synchronization (ES) and timed artificial insemination (TAI) can be up to $49.14 per cow. The study is the first of its kind to quantify the financial outcomes of using these technologies to increase the efficiency of cow/calf operations.

In this study, almost 1,200 suckled beef cows from eight locations were assigned randomly to one of two treatment groups: cows inseminated artificially after synchronization of ovulation followed in 66 hours with TAI versus cows exposed to natural service without ES.

For each herd, cows receiving the treatments were maintained together in similar pastures and exposed to bulls 12 hours after the last cow in the TAI treatment was inseminated. A partial budget analysis was used to determine the economic outcomes of ES and TAI on the production of weaned calves.

Results demonstrated:

·The percentage of cows that weaned a calf was greater for TAI – 84% compared with the control cows at 78%.

·Weaning weights per cow exposed to treatments were greater for the cows in the TAI group.

·A greater percentage of cows exposed to TAI calved during the first 21 days than cows in the control group.

When all factors were evaluated, the study found a $49.14 economic advantage per cow exposed to ES and TAI compared with the control.

·Location greatly influenced weaned calf weights, which may have been a result of differing management, nutrition, genetic selection, production goals and environment.

Having both the economic and production data for ES and TAI technologies can help cow/calf producers better evaluate these types of technologies for a reproductive management program unique to their operation. This information can help producers choose the right technologies for their operation, given the increasing number of options they have available for the synchronization of estrus.

The choice to use ES and TAI affects many parts of the production system, and producers can use this study to help evaluate the success of reproductive management programs. Since management plays a significant role in both the economics and production outcomes of these technologies, it’s important that producers have the right information and understand how their decisions can impact profitability.