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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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Observing the dairy industry’s recent changes, one might think registered animals are becoming a thing of the past. We asked Randy Carpenter, regional representative for Holstein Association USA, a few questions about where registrations are heading.

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Genes in diploid organisms operate singly, in pairs and in conjunction with genes at other locations throughout the nuclear DNA. Inbreeding depression and heterosis arise from the effects of gene combinations; that is, the effects of pairs of genes. Gene pairs are unique characteristics of individuals that are broken down and reformed each generation. This basic biological fact, introduced to many of us in high school biology, is the foundation of everything there is to say about this topic. Very few topics are so well rooted in a simple process.

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Estrus is monitored in dairy cattle so that artificial insemination (A.I.) is performed at the appropriate time relative to ovulation. The emphasis that has been historically placed on estrous detection has diminished because of the development of systems for timed A.I.

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Getting cows pregnant is one of the most important functions on a progressive dairy, perhaps the most important one. The degree of profitability is highly correlated with the velocity of pregnancy creation on a given dairy. This is mainly because a pregnancy is the source of a new lactation and a genetically superior heifer replacement.

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Crossbreeding is an old technology; however, when used in today’s dairy systems, crossbreeding can produce profitable results for dairy producers. Interest in crossbreeding of dairy cattle has become a topic of great interest in the last five years and has developed in response to concerns dairy producers have about fertility, calving difficulty and stillbirths in today’s genetically improved Holstein cows.

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A universal goal of progressive dairy producers is to maximize milk production from healthy cows. But when you ask these same producers what and how they feed their cows to produce that milk, the diversity becomes clear. Producers choose strategies that fit their dairy conditions and their management style.

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