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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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While a great many dairy producers are breeding their lower-end cows to beef bulls, that might not be your best option, according to Dr. Dan Schaefer, professor and former chair of animal sciences at the University of Wisconsin College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. He has been researching Holstein steers since 1982.

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A 10-year study from the University of Minnesota indicates cows from a specific crossbreeding rotation generated as much as 13% more daily profit than their purebred Holstein herdmates.

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Taking steps to positively impact the dairy cow reproduction system is always a smart economic move. One of those steps is managing inflammation related to calving.

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It’s been nearly 75 years since the introduction of frozen semen for artificial insemination (A.I.) and 10 years since genomic selection. During those years, the U.S. has catapulted itself to the position of world leader in bovine genetics, which is a comfortable position to be in.

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During the 2019 Vita Plus Dairy Summit, Vita Plus Dairy Specialist Randall Greenfield teamed up with his counterpart on the beef side, Chad Howlett, to tackle the topic of using beef semen to manage dairy heifer herd inventory, and the opportunities and challenges that come along with the resulting crossbred calves.

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In 2018, U.S. Holstein cows in the Dairy Herd Improvement (DHI) program remained in the milking herd for an average of 28.4 months. Looking back to those born in 1975, they stayed an average of 34.4 months – a full half a year longer. This interval, coined Productive Life, runs from the day of calving in the first lactation to the day the cow left the herd. Some have suggested cows aren’t staying as long because “they are subjected to more stress.”

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