Even though calving season is not yet done for most producers, it's not too soon to begin planning for breeding of open heifers, says George Perry, South Dakota State University associate professor and SDSU Extension beef reproduction specialist.
Perry says it's a good idea to breed heifers to calve two to four weeks ahead of the main cowherd, to give the heifers time to recover before cycling back for the second breeding season.
"We really need to think about getting heifers bred before we finish calving or think about breeding our cows," says Perry.
He says there are several estrus synchronization programs to help get the heifers bred in a timely manner. He lists the three main estrus synchronization programs recommended for beef heifers -- simple estrus detection, estrus detection with timed AI and fixed-timed artificial insemination (AI) protocols.
Perry encourages livestock growers to choose a protocol that fits their time, facilities and experience.
"By using any of these protocols you can better manage your time in that you know you want to detect estrus for this three to five day period or you're going to go out and do a fixed-time AI on them," says Perry. "Synchronization really becomes a management tool that benefits you in managing your labor also."