OSU develops cow reproduction technique to boost industry profits


WOOSTER, Ohio — Researchers with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center have pioneered a new protocol for increasing pregnancy rates in beef cattle, which is expected to lead to higher production efficiency and cost and time savings for farmers nationwide.

Working closely with the industry, animal scientist Mike Day and his team developed a fixed-time artificial insemination (AI) protocol — known as 5-day CO-Synch + CIDR — that better synchronizes a cow’s estrus cycle so that AI can be administered when cows are at their maximum fertility.


Getting the highest possible number of cows pregnant at the same time is crucial for the profitability and efficiency of the beef cattle industry, which in Ohio alone has an annual value of $1.3 billion.

“We have been working on this protocol during the past six years, modifying what has been done in the field in the past,” Day said. “We managed to shorten the duration of standard estrus synchronization programs to increase the opportunity for cows to be at optimum fertility when AI is done.”

Now a recommended practice within the cattle industry nationwide, this protocol has resulted in 68 percent of the animals getting pregnant within one day — a 17.5 percent increase compared to current industry standards.


It has been tested on more than 1,700 cows in Virginia, Indiana and Ohio, including at OARDC’s Eastern and Jackson agricultural research stations and at the OSU Beef Center in Columbus.

“Our goal is to increase the sustainability of beef production by providing producers with effective technology that will help them increase reproductive efficiency and take advantage of the genetic resources available through artificial insemination to produce value-added cattle,” Day said.

The 5-day CO-Synch + CIDR protocol can lead to significant improvements to current cattle operations.


For example, if the protocol were implemented with just 10 percent of Ohio’s 500,000 beef and dairy cows, the total economic benefit for the state would easily surpass $5 million, including:

$400,000 saved in overhead costs as a result of cows becoming pregnant 21 days earlier.

$500,000 saved in costs associated with the development of replacement cows due to low fertility rates.

More than $4 million in multiplier effect from savings and increased production. Innovations like this are welcome news for the beef industry.

“Several existing synchronization protocols that are used today by the beef industry, not only nationally but globally, were initiated through research efforts with OARDC,” said Brian House, beef program manager with Select Sires Inc., a cattle genetics company based in Plain City, Ohio.

“The results of this research benefit thousands of beef producers, allowing them to be more profitable with their operations.”


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    • Bulls kill people and may be agressive to the point of injurying other animals. A neighbor was killed by the most “gentle” bull you might expect to find. They will turn on you for no reason.

      Artificial insemination allows for improved genetics (selection) to address and improve everything from poor feet or legs to incresed rate of gain or milk production.

      Some dairy or beef farmers may keep a bull for breeding heifers or cows, but great caution must be used.

      I see you also posted comment on the Veal Standards.
      The natural behavior of a bull is for dominance. That is where the term “bullying” comes from. This is why it is of great concern to Veal farmers that they will have to have there young, 450-500# bulls in a group pen. They will establish a “pecking order” in a group pen with the dominant one “bullying” the others for the top “position” and also push the others away from feed.

      More calves will be injured and die in this housing method, with higher medication use and cost.
      But this is what the OLCSB has determined to be “humane”.


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