* If a bull is available that will sire offspring that are totally superior,
then his semen can be divided into approximately 700 straws capable of causing about
60% pregnancies each week. Some dairy sires have sired up to 200,000 calves in a
* Bulls can be selected carefully and tried to see if they sire high quality
calves - then if they do, they can be used on a large number of females.
* Semen can be frozen and stored in liquid nitrogen tanks and used years after
the sire is dead.
What percent of cows bred A-I will conceive?
A 60% conception rate is common for experienced inseminators. Which is about the
same as if the cow was mated with a bull naturally.
Who can inseminate?
Call your Vet to see if they provide A-I service or if they know of a local A-l Technician.
What equipment is needed?
Usually you can rent a liquid nitrogen tank prior to buying one (if you decide you
need one), or see if your A-I Tech will store semen for you.
Is it practical for beef cattle?
I had a purebred herd of cattle and purchased semen from a sire that had sold to
a bull stud for $500,000. The semen costs only $20. The calf from that mating brought
$2000. If you have good cows and can purchase semen from famous bulls that have all
the qualities you want, then the results are usually profitable. You must also have
If you are going to use artificial insemination for a genetic improvement program,
it is necessary to have a well thought out plan in mind.
Is A-I for you?
An Artificial Insemination (A-l) program involves much more than just placing semen
in the uterus of a cow in heat; It requires intensified management practices and
knowledge of the "essentials" that, when managed properly, contribute to the success
of an artificial insemination program. (Good Heat Detection is an essential step
for a successful A-I program) “GD”.
The National Association of Animal Breeders (NAAB) points out the following advantages
and requirements of artificial breeding programs.
Advantages of A-l
* The primary reward with A-l is that is allows you to use outstanding bulls,
likely some of the best the industry offers; access to the bulls is generally at
* Goals will be achieved as quickly as is currently possible in beef cattle breeding.
* Working hand in hand with A-l are today's advanced sire evaluations which give
you reliable statistics that identify bulls superior in important economic traits.
Using the evaluations and A-l, your ability to produce seedstock for specific purposes
is enhanced appreciably.
* Experts have a vested interest in your success. Your A-l supplier is available
to help you with your program.
* You can sample and use any number of bulls.
* If you only have a few cows, you have as great a selection of genetics as someone
with 1,000 cows.
* You can match each cow to a different bull if you want.
* You can breed heifers to bulls known to reduce the risk of calving problems.
* A-l gives you access to well-promoted sires. If one of them matches your specifications
and you use him, you can take advantage of the sires name to help sell the offspring.
* Using top bulls will result in top replacement heifers. You won't have to buy
them, and many A-l users have a good market for their extra heifers.
* You don't have to keep a bull around all year.
* Even if you consider increased labor for heat detection and insemination, it's
often cheaper to buy semen than to keep a bull.
* Your calving season will likely be shorter. You'll get a more uniform calf
crop and save on labor.
* When you buy semen from a reputable supplier, A-l is one of the first lines
of defense in disease prevention. Reputable organizations follow exacting standards
concerning bull health and semen collection, processing and storage.
* A-l helps you identify fertility problems quicker.
* A-l forces you to keep records. Among other things, better records improve
your replacement heifer selection and records can be effectively used in merchandising.
* Heifer management is simplified. Heifers of varying ages and sizes can be pastured
together with no danger of them getting bred too early.
* A-l eliminates the need for several breeding pastures.
* You have options. You can use A-l for one heat period, then use natural service;
you can synchronize; or you can A-l for two heat periods.
* Advanced technology like embryo transfer is practical because of A-l.
* A-l encourages improved management. There's no sense committing the labor and
resources if you're not going to do it right.
Artificial Insemination - Basics
A-I ... IS IT FOR YOU?
by Dr. Keith Beeman (edited by GD)
Dept. of Clinical Sciences
College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University
Observation is an Absolute Necessity.........Visual Signs of Heat............
1. Riding of other cows can be a sign of heat, but all riders are not necessarily
2. Roughened hair, or hair rubbed off, on the tailhead may be evidence of others
riding, indicating this animal may be in heat.
3. Cows in heat may follow others, stand close and sniff, nuzzle and lick the
back or rump of others.
4. Cows in heat or near onset of heat tend to group together.
5. Cows generally are more nervous than usual, and may bawl considerably, pace
the fence and generally are more restless. Keen observers, familiar with their animals,
often can tell cows in or approaching heat by subtle changes in normal appearance.
6. Another good indicator is stringy, clear (egg white appearance) mucus hanging
from the vulvar opening or smeared on the tail or buttocks. Clear mucus discharges
often can be seen on the ground where a cow had been resting.
7. The vulvar lips will look moist and slightly swollen. A somewhat smoother surface
is shown rather than the normal dry, finely wrinkled vulvar lips of a non-estrous
cow. Further, the hairs of a cow in heat tend to be wet and matted and smeared by
tail and rubbing activity.
8. Bloody mucus, although not a consistent sign, can be observed between the second
and fourth days following heat. This is not a sign of heat, but indicates the animal
was in heat several days ago. Observe closely for the next heat cycle in about 15
to 20 days.
Standing heat: This is the most reliable heat sign. The animal in heat allows others
to mount her as she stands. (see photo above-left)
Anticipate heat with records: Cows cycle every 21 days, make accurate observations,
and keep good records.
Heat mount detectors: If you are unable to observe your cows on a daily basis, they
are devices attached above and ahead of the cow’s tailhead. They are sensitive to
pressure and are activated when one animal mounts another. These can be valuable
tools in some operations but have limitations. Aids for detecting heat should never
be substituted for visual observations. Aids by their very definition are to be used
to help confirm a visual observation of heat or to indicate that extra effort should
be spent on cattle observation.
Synchronization of breeding is being used in some situations to inseminate or breed
several cows at a time, to allow a narrower caving season during a favorable weather