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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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Artificial insemination (A.I.) as practiced by bees and many other flying insects has played an important role in plant reproduction for a very long time.

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High reproductive success is fundamental to a dairy operation’s sustainability and growth in today’s dairy industry.

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Dairyman Jason Nunes’ office at his 1,000-cow dairy in Buhl, Idaho, contains a computer, record books, a calendar and other office supplies typically found in workspaces on dairy farms.

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The USDA decided in 2007 to make the switch from producing four sire summaries a year to three. Research Geneticist George Wiggans says there were two main reasons for the change. The first was to cut down marketing expenses for the nation’s A.I. companies. The second was to coincide with the International Bull Evaluation Service (Interbull), whose operational center is based in Uppsala, Sweden.

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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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