Artificial insemination (AI) in beef herds has not taken off as quickly and widespread as in the dairy industry, but W. Dee Whittier, DVM, MS, believes veterinarians should encourage their beef clients to take a harder look at it.

Speaking at the 2012 Western Veterinary Conference last week, Whittier, from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, said some of the reasons for the lack of uptake of AI by beef producers include a perceived lack of profit potential, difficulty in handling with inadequate facilities and lack of knowledge on the part of producers and their consultants. 

However, potential benefits of synchronization and AI include all of the following:

  • Having the average calf in a calving season be older
  • A more uniform crop of calves
  • More pregnant cows
  • A tighter synchrony in calving
  • Improved calf quality
  • Better calving ease in replacement heifers
  • Less need for and decreased cost of bulls
  • Production of better replacement heifers
  • Production of better cattle in retained ownership programs

For more information on the economics of AI vs. natural service in beef herds, read the paper Economic Comparisons of Artificial Insemination vs. Natural Mating for Beef Cattle Herds here.