- Artificial insemination can shorten the calving season, increase calf uniformity, produce earlier births during the calving season, enhance preweaning growth and heavier calves at weaning. A new University of Florida smartphone app can help cattle producers find out.
ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION can do a lot to help manage a herd, but does it pay to use it. A new University of Florida smartphone app can help cattle producers find out.
The utilization of estrous synchronization and fixed-time artificial insemination, or TAI, has potential to influence the economic efficiency of cow/calf enterprises by improving a producer’s opportunity to shorten the calving season, increase calf uniformity, have earlier births during the calving season, enhance preweaning growth and heavier calves at weaning.
Beef producers have been slow to adopt these technologies into their production systems simply because of the hassle factors associated with incorporating these protocols. Beef producers do not necessarily appreciate the immediate benefits of TAI in their herds.
The University of Florida conducted a study to examine the economic outcomes of the management decision to intervene with estrous synchronization and TAI technologies in commercial cow/calf production.
Weaning weights per cow exposed to treatments were greater for cows in the TAI treatment (425.5 pounds) than those cows in the control treatment (387.0 pounds). The result was that increased returns plus decreased costs ($82.32), minus decreased returns plus increased costs ($33.18) resulted in a $49.14 advantage per exposed cow in the TAI treatment compared to the control treatment.
In the process, utilizing a partial budget analysis, we developed a model that may be useful to beef producers to incorporate their own costs and determine the value of estrous synchronization in their own operations. This model has been converted into a smartphone application for Android and iPhone/iPad users and is called the ‘AI Cowculator’.
The AI Cowculator may be downloaded free of charge and is a decision aid tool to assist producers to determine whether they should consider TAI rather than purchasing herd sires for their cow herds.