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Just Your Standard Bull...

published: April 29th 2022
by: Michael Sturgess

Today is Tuesday, April 26. I am currently at the ranch near LaRue as we AI’d heifers yesterday and cows today at 2:00 pm. We had much needed rain here yesterday, so we had to AI in the rain. When you set up everything for time breeding or synchronized breeding, your schedules have no room for movement due to weather.
    With synchronized breeding, your goal is to get a 50-60% conception rate. Some would suggest that that isn’t high enough for the cost of drugs, cdir’s, labor and semen. However, when I weigh all the benefits against the costs, I still find the process to be invaluable.
    I had a nephew ask me this week about how much it costs as opposed to just bull breeding your cows. My answer to him started about value.
    First of all, you can go to any bull sale or registered female sale for that matter and there are a few things that always hold true. On average, AI sired or calves born as a result of embryo transfer bring a significant premium over bull bred calves in the same offering. Of course, if you have bull bred calves sired by an AI quality sire, those fall into the same category. The same also holds true for me for my private treaty bulls. My AI sired and ET calves bring a significant premium over my bull bred sired bulls.
    Secondly, the act of synchronizing your females stimulate heat cycles. We have found that the ones that haven’t stuck to AI often breed up faster and in tighter calving season. A tighter calving season means more uniformity in your calf crop.
    I wish I could tell you that I had all my cattle calve in a 75-day calving window. But if you get 80-90% calving in the first 60 days and the reminder calving in the last 30 days, I feel like we are getting pretty close.
    Commercially, we are beginning to see more customers utilize AI. Why? For many of the same reasons we use AI. First of all, some of us have semen on proven high ranking, highly accurate bulls that could be sold at a discount to commercial breeders. ESPECIALLY, if you provide us with data like average weaning weights and even harvest data. Secondly, commercial breeders benefit greatly by getting more calves born in a tight window for the uniformity in brings to the table.
    Is it right for you?

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