The winter of 2010 has broken a number of records. Beef cows on most farms have probably been affected to a significant degree by the winter. The snow cover has altered cow diets for the worse while unusually cold temperatures and wind chills have markedly increased nutrient requirements.

A review of what research and experience shows about reproductive performance helps producers predict and hopefully take the necessary steps to remedy the effects of this situation on the upcoming breeding season. Otherwise, open cows and later calves may have a profound effect on future profits.

The number of cows that get pregnant during a calving season is a function of three major factors:

1) The number of cows that are cycling (coming into heat) at any point in the breeding season.


2) The fertility of the cows, that is, the likelihood that they get pregnant each time they come into heat.


3) The fertility of the male, whether in the form of a bull breeding or an artificial insemination.

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