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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.

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Profitability in dairy operations is directly related to reproductive performance. The results of the preferred reproductive program in the dairy farm will be used to measure essential parameters of success, for instance, decreasing replacements due to reproductive failure and increasing the number of heifers for replacement due to reproductive success.

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Reproductive management and genetic advancement are at top speed in the dairy industry, accelerated by the reproductive tools available to dairy producers. Since 1980, Trans Ova Genetics has been leading the way, offering embryo transfer and advanced reproductive technologies. John Metzger of the Iowa division of Trans Ova was at the 2016 Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, to help dairy producers discover what role embryo transfer, in vitro fertilization (IVF) and genomics play in their dairy operations.

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Reproductive performance impacts milk production and, therefore, profitability of a dairy herd. Recently, improvements have been noted in 21-day pregnancy rates for dairy cows. These improvements have been the result of increased genetic selection for fertility traits, refined reproductive management programs, improved cow comfort and facilities management, and redefined nutritional programs for dry and lactating dairy cows.

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It has been estimated that economic losses related to heat stress in production animals could account for as much as $900 million annually. With this type of financial loss, it is not surprising that dairy producers and their consultants are continually trying to incorporate strategies and management techniques to minimize the negative effects of heat stress.

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Researchers have developed many management protocols and technologies that can be used to increase efficiencies of production on the dairy. One of these tools is advanced reproductive technologies.

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Last November marked the 20th anniversary of the first publication on Ovsynch by J.R. Pursley, M.O. Mee and M.C. Wiltbank. It has been cited in 1,161 journal articles since. That article, in Theriogenology, introduced the idea that ovulation could be synchronized in an eight-hour period to potentially allow for acceptable fertility following fixed-time A.I. in dairy cows.

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