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A.I. & Breeding

From estrus and heat detection to genomics and sexed semen, discover the latest information to improve reproductive performance.

LATEST

The ability to actively choose the gender of the calf to be born is now a reality on dairy farms. Indeed, the last 10 years have seen rapid evolution in semen-sexing technologies.

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Reproductive technologies like embryo transfer (ET) and in vitro fertilization can help advance the genetic level of heifers entering the milking herd, offering enhanced profits for producers. With the advent of genomic data, there is an even better story to tell.

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Until recently, assisted reproductive technologies such as multiple ovulation embryo transfer and in vitro fertilization (IVF) have seen limited use in the commercial dairy sector.

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How are genomics working on your farm?

That was the topic of a panel discussion at the Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference held in February in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.

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Dr. Don Niles, partner on Dairy Dreams in Casco, Wisconsin, said there is no single miracle for a good breeding program and transition of heifers into the dairy herd; rather, there are several very important factors.

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Can you believe up to 60 percent of embryos don’t “make it” in the lactating dairy cow? That’s right. In addition to poor estrus expression and low conception rate, embryonic loss is another significant contributor to poor reproductive efficiency, with combined pre- and post-fertilization losses exceeding 70 percent (Figure 1).

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