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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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For the last 50 years, there have been numerous press releases and rumors that sexed semen is “just around the corner.” Well, in the 1980s, a breakthrough in sex sorting technology was made by USDA researchers in Livermore, California, and Beltsville, Maryland. The patents for this technology were licensed to XY Inc. in Fort Collins, Colorado, which performed a considerable amount of research during the 1990s to optimize efficiency of these sorting procedures.

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Alta claims gold medal in Holstein sire fertility
Alta has set the equivalent of an Olympic record recently with the USDA release of the new Sire Conception Rate (SCR) evaluation. The SCR evaluation is a more accurate measure of an individual bull’s ability to get cows pregnant. An SCR of +1 or -1 means a bull will produce conception rates that are 1% higher or lower, respectively, than an average fertility bull.

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How much genetic improvement do you make in the absence of a pregnancy? None. How much milk will be created without a pregnancy? None. How much money will a dairy make without milk? None.

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Heat detection always requires some degree of human intervention. This is because our only indication of estrus is the cow’s abnormal behavior.

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Poor fertility of lactating dairy cows significantly challenges most dairy producers. In most herds conception rates of cows are at best about half that of heifers.

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