Artificial insemination in a commercial beef production system has advantages and disadvantages
Most cattle producers know that the textbook gestation length of beef cattle is 283 days. Most also realize that biology is variable, and predicting the exact day of natural birth in most mammalian species is very difficult to do. However, some producers seem to forget these biological laws when using new technology in their breeding programs. Many producers associate artificial insemination (AI) with the cow herd behaving in very regimented and predictable ways.
We often recommend that Noble Foundation consultation clients implement a timed AI program, in which a large group of heifers is synchronized and inseminated on a single day. Some producers hesitate to implement such a system because they envision the resulting calf crop being born on a single day and creating a problem if the heifers require calving assistance. Fortunately, biological variability takes care of this potential problem.
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