Beef producers who use artificial insemination (AI) in their breeding program use estrus synchronization (ES) to better utilize their labor resources both during breeding and calving seasons. Choosing the synchronization protocol that best fits each individual situation is challenging because so many options are currently available.

The Beef Reproductive Task Force is a committee of animal scientists from eight land grant universities in the U.S. This committee is made up of beef reproduction scientists and Extension specialists who have been instrumental in conducting research and evaluating ES protocols. Each year they review the research and make recommendations of ES systems that the committee agrees will give producers the best choices for their situations.

Producers need to decide how much heat detection that they feel that they can do successfully. Some producers can take the time to do heat detection for a couple of weeks. Other producers can find the time to be good at heat detection for only a few days, while many other producers would prefer not to heat detect at all.

Therefore, the Beef Reproductive Task Force has categorized different ES protocols accordingly. Also the committee has made appropriate recommendations for synchronization systems for yearling replacement heifers and for adult cows (currently nursing calves).

Beef producers can download the “2011 Estrous Synchronization Protocols for Heifers and Cows” as well a free estrus synchronization planner by clicking on “Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle” at beefrepro.unl.edu/resources.html. If you utilize AI or ES with natural service, you’ll find this information quite valuable. Keep in mind that some of the synchronization products are only available by a prescription from your local food animal veterinarian.