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The Benefits of Artificial Insemenation in Beef Cattle essays

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The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service defines Artificial Insemination as the “procedure of collecting semen form the male of a species and transferring it to the female reproductive tract so that conception can take place.” Artificial Insemination is used throughout the world for many purposes ranging from production agriculture to preventing extinction of endangered animals. The use of this practice is not limited to cows, pigs, and horses, but is used in zoos and other exotic breeding programs on including water buffalo, elephants, and ferrets.
Artificial Insemination gives a beef producer the opportunity to use a bull possessing superior genetics on their breeding operation. Depending on the goals of an individual’s program, A.I. offers a feasible solution to increasing productivity without sacrificing huge investments. Success in an Artificial Insemination program, however, does require attention to detail in the management and production of a herd. There are several steps to establishing an Artificial Insemination breeding program. These steps include record keeping, heat detection, estrus synchronization, sire selection, and the insemination procedure itself. These procedures, combined with sound herd management practices such as herd health, can allow the producer to reap numerous benefits.
Just like any other agricultural practice, Artificial Insemination has had many years of development and research, over three centuries to be exact. Artificial Insemination was haphazardly discovered by Arabian horse breeders in the 1400’s. By using a sponge, they took semen for a stud and inserted into a vagina of a mare in heat. Over the next 300 years, many trial and error periods took place. In 1780, Spallanzani, an Italian physiologist, first documented the use of AI on dogs and amphibians. In 1914, a Russian scientist named Ivanoff developed a method of retrieving semen by using an artificia.

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Fixed-time artificial insemination in beef cattle

Fixed-time artificial insemination in beef cattle

Numbers of animal cases in different groups are shown in parentheses.

In the beginning of the Ovsynch protocol, all animals selected to the program were administered 10 to 12 μg of buserelin (Receptal R 4 μg/ml, Intervet International B.V. Boxmeer, The Netherlands). Seven days later, the animals were manually examined per rectum by an experienced operator in order to determine the status of ovarian function. Animals not having a clear palpable corpus luteum (CL) were rejected from the program, while animals with a CL were administered 0.5 mg of cloprostenol (Estrumat R 0.25 mg/ml, Schering-Plough A/S, Ballerup, Denmark) or 0.15 mg of dexcloprostenol (Genestran R 0.075 mg/ml, Vetcare, Salo, Finland). Forty-eight hours after the treatment, the animals were administered 8 to 10 μg of buserelin. Fixed-time AI was performed 16 to 20 hours after the last injection with semen of bulls of known normal fertility.

Eighteen days after the AI, a bull was introduced to the herd in order to serve cows that returned to oestrus. Pregnancy examinations were performed by palpation per rectum six to eight weeks after the AI, when it was easy to detect pregnancies conducted from AI. All examinations were made by one and the same experienced veterinarian.

Data were analysed using the SPSS 13.0 for Windows software. To study the effect of season, suckling, parity and interval between calving and entering the program among cows on the rejections and pregnancy rates, the data were analysed using logistic regression for binomially distributed data. Before analyses, parity was classified to three groups, first parity cows, middle-aged cows (parity 2-5) and old cows (parity 6-), and interval between calving and entering the program to three groups, short (50-70 days), medium (71-100 days) and long (101-days) interval. For parity and interval, the last and first category, respectively, served as a reference category. Initially, all the variables were included in the analysis. In the backward stepwise analysis procedure, non-significant variables were omitted. Chi-square test was used to analyse the differences in rejections and pregnancy rates between cows and heifers. P-values less than 0.05 were considered significant.

Results

Of 164 animal cases, 34 (20.7%) were rejected from the program since no CL were detected on the day of cloprostenol/dexcloprostenol administration. During summer and winter seasons, 20.2% and 21.4% were rejected, respectively. The rejection rates in parity * interval between calving and entering the program (later "time interval") groups are presented in Table 1. Differences in rejections in cows between parity (p = 0.132), suckling (p = 0.160) and time interval groups (p = 0.214) and seasons (p = 0.932) were not statistically significant. The rejections in heifers were not significantly different (p = 0.416) from those in cows. However, heifers and old cows were rejected numerically 10 to 20 percentage points more than younger, parity 1-5, cows.

During the experiment 130 AIs were performed, of which 67 (51.5%) led to pregnancy. Distributions of the AIs into parity and time interval classes are presented in Table 2. In summer and winter seasons, the pregnancy rates were 53.3% and 49.1%, respectively. Effects of season and suckling were not statistically significant (p = 0.964 and p = 0.776, respectively). Thus, these variables were omitted form the final analysis. The pregnancy rates in parity * time interval groups are presented in Table 2. Time interval from calving to the start of the program affected conception. The differences in pregnancy rates in cows between the three time interval groups were statistically significant (p = 0.029). In particular, pregnancy rate in the group having medium time interval (71-100 days, p = 0.019) as well as in the group having long time interval (100-days, p = 0.010) were significantly lower when compared to the reference group with short interval (50-70 days).

Pregnancy rates (%) after fixed-time artificial insemination in different parity * interval from calving to entering the program groups.

The effect of parity on pregnancy rate was not as clear as the effect of time interval. The overall differences between the three parity groups of cows tended to be statistically significant (p = 0.063). However, the pregnancy rates of the first parity and middle-aged cows, when contrasted to that of the old cows (the reference group), were significantly (p = 0.032 and p = 0.019, respectively) higher. The pregnancy rates in heifers were not significantly different (p = 0.506) from those in cows. However, the pregnancy rates in heifers seemed to be numerically somewhat lower than in parity 1-5 cows.

Discussion

The average pregnancy rate of 51.5% was reached with a slightly modified Ovsynch protocol in this Charolais beef herd. During the preceding years, the approximate pregnancy rate after AI based on oestrus detection had varied around 20% when calculated according to the herd bookkeeping. No data about overall pregnancy results after AI in beef cattle in Finland are available, but in dairy cattle, the 60-days non-return rate is about 63%, and thus, the real pregnancy rate can be expected to be very close to 50%.

Originally the Ovsynch protocol for synchronisation of ovulation was developed for reproductive management in dairy herds [ 10 ]. Since this paper, many studies have evaluated the fertility of lactating dairy cows following the Ovsynch protocol, and pregnancy rates per AI have varied from 27% to 39% [ 11 – 13. 15. 18. 19 ]. These pregnancy rates have been similar to [ 11. 12 ] or only slightly lower [ 18. 20 ] than the pregnancy rates with AI after oestrus detection or after oestrus detection following synchronisation of oestrus with PGF in the control cows. The Ovsynch protocol has also been applied for beef cattle. Geary et al. [ 21 ] have reported a pregnancy rate of 52% in beef cows after the Ovsynch protocol. In the same study, they also modified the Ovsynch protocol by adding 48-h calf removal from the PGF administration to the second GnRH treatment. This calf removal tended to increase the pregnancy rate (from 52 to 61%). Geary et al. [ 1 ] earlier carried out a quite similar experiment where the Ovsynch protocol with 48-h calf removal led to a pregnancy rate of 54%, suggesting that the pregnancy rate without calf removal would be slightly below 50%. Two other studies have obtained similar results; pregnancy rates have varied from 47.7% to 53% after the Ovsynch protocol in beef cows [ 22. 23 ]. These results are quite identical and accord well with the results of the present study.

Several modifications for the Ovsynch protocol have been developed. For example a strategy known as Cosynch eliminates one cow handling period (the second GnRH and AI at the same time) and facilitates once-daily restraint of cows for administration of hormone injections and timed AI. In Cosynch protocols, the time interval between the PGF administration and the second GnRH + AI has varied from 48 h to 72 h. Pregnancy rates after the use of the Cosynch method have been similar or slightly lower than those obtained in the Ovsynch [ 19. 24 ]. Despite this the Cosynch method should be remembered as an alternative in beef herds, where the handling facilities may be poor. The fact that the conception rate is affected by the stage of the oestrous cycle at the beginning of the protocol [ 15 ] has led to the development of presynchronisation methods preceding the Ovsynch and Cosynch protocols. The presynchronisation methods include either two PGF administrations before the first GnRH injection (Presynch) [ 25 ] or a progesterone releasing intravaginal device inserted for the first seven days of the program [ 26 ]. In beef cattle, presynchronisation with progesterone supplementation has been studied, but no additive effects were detected [ 27 ]. It should be kept in mind that all these handlings and treatments cause extra costs, and it is questionable whether these are cost-effective.

Interestingly, the fertility after fixed-time AIs seems to be better following shorter rather than longer intervals from parturition to start of the protocol. The low sample sizes among some of the cells (Table 2 ) limit the effective analysis for interactions, but observed percentages of pregnancy rates suggest that long interval from calving to the start of the program may be a risk factor, especially for the first parity cows. This finding disagrees with the well known fact obtained in dairy cattle that the conception rate to AI increases along an increasing interval from parturition to at least 120 days [ 28. 29 ]. Nevertheless, in line with our finding, Geary et al. [ 1 ] have obtained similar results in beef cows after the Ovsynch protocol. The pregnancy rates were 74%, 51% and 52% when the cows entered the program <70, 70-90, and >90 days post partum, respectively. The fairly poor pregnancy results in the groups having a long interval from parturition to start of the protocol can partly be explained with a bias in the selection of animals into the groups. It is possible that the group of animals with a long interval might have included more animals that had had problems in reproductive functions. However, even a more interesting finding is that fertility was best in those animals having the shortest interval from the calving. In dairy cattle, fertility during the corresponding period is lowest, and a negative energy balance during the first weeks after the calving has been shown to be one of the most important reasons for the poor fertility [ 30. 31 ]. In suckling beef cattle, the milk yield is clearly lower, and thus negative energy balance flatter than in dairy cattle, which could be one explanation for the excellent fertility fairly soon after calving. However, in beef cattle, suckling has been shown to be one of the major factors in determining the length of puerperal anoestrus [ 32 ]. In our study, this did not seem to affect the fertility after 50 days after calving.

The synchronisation program used in this study was slightly modified from the original Ovsynch protocol which principally does not include any clinical examinations of the animals entering the program. In the present study, ovaries of the involved animals were palpated per rectum, and those animals not having a functional CL were omitted from the program. One of the goals of the program was to optimize the number of offspring per AI dose, since the target was to import new and valuable genetic material into the herd rather than conceive all animals per AI. Vasconcelos et al. [ 15 ] have reported that of cows having low progesterone concentrations at the time of the administration of PGF. 68% of them had a synchronized ovulation compared to an overall synchronization rate of 87% in all cows - keeping in mind that these cows were cyclic. In addition to the fact that cyclic cows having low progesterone concentrations at the time of the administration of PGF had a distinctly lower synchronisation rate, the pregnancy rates in anoestrous cows have been lower than in cyclic cows (48% vs. 62%) [ 21 ]. Similar, although not significant, differences have been reported by Geary et al. [ 1 ].

The Ovsynch regimen does not seem to be as effective for synchronizing heifers as lactating dairy cows. Statistically, there was a lower percentage of heifers that responded to the first injection of GnRH, and this may have resulted in only 75% of heifers being synchronized compared to 100% of cows [ 10 ]. According to Pursley et al. [ 12 ], heifers have a lower pregnancy rate per AI after Ovsynch than after PGF and detected oestrus. They concluded that Ovsynch may be the first synchronisation protocol that has performed well in lactating dairy cows but not in heifers. Although the number of heifers involved in the present study was low, and thus, significant results were not reached, it seemed that proportionally more heifers were rejected from the program due to unresponsiveness; the conception rate was 7.7 percentage points lower than the overall average.

Conclusion

The use of fixed-time AI after the Ovsynch protocol in beef herds seems to give acceptable pregnancy results, and its effect on the saving of labour is notable. However, final profitability depends much on the herd and the objectives involved. Season and suckling during the insemination period did not seem to affect fertility. Interval from calving to start of the protocol had a clear influence: the fertility was the best in the group having the shortest interval, 50-70 days. The effect of parity was not clear, but it seemed that this protocol does not lend for heifers as well as for cows.

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Artificial Insemination in Beef Cattle

Advancing the quality of the herd.

Steps involved in AI
  • Selection of the bulls
  • Heat detection and timing

  • Handling of the Semen

    Bull selection
    • AI allows for an enormous range of options in the bulls that you use.
  • Bulls are listed in catalogs and their pedigree and EPDs are provided to help with the selection.

    Expected Progeny Differences

    These are used to estimate how future progeny of an animal will compare to progeny of other animals within the breed.

    EPDs account for:
    • Genetic value of cows to which the bull is bred.
  • Environmental differences affecting contemporary groups.

  • Genetic differences of other parents in the contemporary group.

  • PPT - Artificial Insemination in Beef Cattle PowerPoint presentation

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    Title: Artificial Insemination in Beef Cattle


    1
    Artificial Insemination in Beef Cattle
    • Advancing the quality of the herd.
    • Lynn Searcy

    2
    Steps involved in AI
    • Selection of the bulls
    • Tools used
    • Facilities
    • Heat detection and timing
    • Handling of the Semen
    • Insemination

    3
    Bull selection
    • AI allows for an enormous range of options in the
      bulls that you use.
    • Bulls are listed in catalogs and their pedigree
      and EPDs are provided to help with the selection.

    4
    EPD
    • Expected Progeny Differences
    • These are used to estimate how future progeny of
      an animal will compare to progeny of other
      animals within the breed.

    5
    EPDs account for
    • Genetic value of cows to which the bull is bred.
    • Environmental differences affecting contemporary
      groups.
    • Genetic differences of other parents in the
      contemporary group.
    • Genetic trend.

    6
    EPDs and Accuracy
    • Accuracy is the reliability of the EPD numbers.
    • Low 0.0 to .25
    • Medium .25 to .50
    • High .50 to 1.0

    7
    EPD example
    8
    Tools used in AI
    • Liquid Nitrogen tank
    • Long gloves
    • Insemination rod
    • Paper towels
    • Straw cutter
    • Sheath
    • Semen straw
    • Warm water bath
    • Thermometer
    • Rubbing alcohol
    • Clock
    • Record books

    9
    Facilities
    • Proper working facilities are a must when AI-ing
      cattle.
    • It eases stress and helps to prevent injury of
      all involved.

    10
    Heat detection
    • This is the most limiting factor in an AI
      program.
    • The cow or heifer must be seen in standing heat
      or active Estrus, this is indicated by an altered
      behavior.
    • The female that is in heat will become immobile
      when another animal, bull or cow, mounts her.

    11
    Heat detection and Timing
    • Standing heat occurs every 18-24 days, and lasts
      for 10-14 hours.
    • Timing is imperative when AI-ing a cow, to
      achieve the highest rate of conception, a cow
      seen standing in the am will be AI-ed in the pm,
      and if seen in the pm will be AI-ed in the am.
    • This is done because the cow ovulates after
      standing heat.

    12
    Handling of the semen
    • Semen is stored in a plastic straw
    • Straws are stored inside of a cane.
    • Canes are suspended in a canister which is inside
      the liquid nitrogen tank.
    • The liquid nitrogen keeps the temperature of the
      semen at -320F

    13
    Handling of the semen
    • When preparing the semen for AI-ing a cow, the
      canister is lifted to the neck of the liquid
      nitrogen tank the selected cane is lifted and a
      straw is removed within 10 seconds.
    • The straw is pulled from the cane and deposited
      into the warm water bath that is 90-98 degrees,
      and left for 45 to 60 seconds.
    • It is then wrapped in a paper towel and shaken so
      the sperm is on one end and an air bubble is at
      the other.

    14
    Handling of the semen
    • The straw cutter is then used to make a square
      cut end on the straw which is then fitted into
      the sheath.
    • The sheath is then fitted onto the insemination
      rod.
    • The insemination rod is then tucked into the
      AI-ers clothing for transport to the cow.
    • Insemination of the cow should occur within
      minutes of the semen being thawed.
    • This should not exceed 15 minutes.

    15
    Insemination process
    • The outside of the cows reproductive tract
      should be wash before insemination.
    • This prevents the introduction of manure and
      other contaminants to the reproductive tract.
    • The gloved arm is inserted into the rectum and
      the cervix grasped.
    • The insemination rod is then introduced into the
      vagina and passed through the cervix into the
      uterus.

    16
    Insemination
    Artificial insemination
    technique in the cow. PL Senger. 2003.
    Pathways to
    Pregnancy and Parturition. Fig. 12.6, Page 274.

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    The Benefits of Artificial Insemenation in Beef Cattle essays - Buy Essay & Research Paper Online

    85gradusov.ru The Benefits of Artificial Insemenation in Beef Cattle

    The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service defines Artificial Insemination as the “procedure of collecting semen form the male of a species and transferring it to the female reproductive tract so that conception can take place.” Artificial Insemination is used throughout the world for many purposes ranging from production agriculture to preventing extinction of endangered animals. The use of this practice is not limited to cows, pigs, and horses, but is used in zoos and other exotic breeding programs on including water buffalo, elephants, and ferrets.
    Artificial Insemination gives a beef producer the opportunity to use a bull possessing superior genetics on their breeding operation. Depending on the goals of an individual’s program, A.I. offers a feasible solution to increasing productivity without sacrificing huge investments. Success in an Artificial Insemination program, however, does require attention to detail in the management and production of a herd. There are several steps to establishing an Artificial Insemination breeding program. These steps include record keeping, heat detection, estrus synchronization, sire selection, and the insemination procedure itself. These procedures, combined with sound herd management practices such as herd health, can allow the producer to reap numerous benefits.
    Just like any other agricultural practice, Artificial Insemination has had many years of development and research, over three centuries to be exact. Artificial Insemination was haphazardly discovered by Arabian horse breeders in the 1400’s. By using a sponge, they took semen for a stud and inserted into a vagina of a mare in heat. Over the next 300 years, many trial and error periods took place. In 1780, Spallanzani, an Italian physiologist, first documented the use of AI on dogs and amphibians. In 1914, a Russian scientist named Ivanoff developed a method of retrieving semen by using an artificia.

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    MegaEssays. "The Benefits of Artificial Insemenation in Beef Cattle." 85gradusov.ru. 85gradusov.ru, (December 31, 1969). Web. 28 Feb. 2016.

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    Cattle Today: ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION: ONE OF THE INDUSTRY S MOST UNDER UTILIZED TOOLS

    ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION: ONE OF THE INDUSTRY'S MOST UNDER UTILIZED TOOLS

    The last few years have provided some exiting developments in the area of biotechnology in the beef industry. Tools such as DNA markers for economically important traits, sexing of semen and embryos, in vitro production of embryos, cloning and other breakthroughs brought about for the most part by work in the field of molecular biology are some specific examples. Interestingly though, one of the most significant of these, a tool that has been around the longest and one of the most effective genetic improvement tools available today is largely underutilized by the beef industry - artificial insemination (AI). This article will review what AI has to offer to the beef cattle producer and attempt to illustrate some of the production and economic benefits of this powerful resource. A large portion of this text is taken from a discussion by Dr. Harlan Ritchie at Michigan State in Feedstuffs (Oct 05).

    Artificial Insemination has been around since 1939, for over 65 years. However, less than five percent of the nation's beef cows are bred AI, with the majority of these breedings taking place in the seedstock and the club (show) calf sectors. As a point of comparison, about 66 percent of the nation's dairy cows are bred AI, and the use of AI by commercial swine producers is currently 70-75 percent. At one time, AI was considerably more expensive than natural service. This is no longer the case in today's beef industry and market. Also, at one time, the bulls that were available as AI sires were not that much better genetically than those in countless pastures in the United States. Today, however, semen is available from AI sires significantly better than most breed averages in most traits are available at a nominal price. Finally, developments in estrus synchronization (ES) systems make the use of AI much more feasible.

    In our current cattle markets, AI is not just for purebred breeders but has applications at the commercial level as well. Use of many highly proven AI sires in an assortment of breeds or even crosses can:

    1) Significantly increase weaning weights.

    2) Improve post-weaning performance.

    3) Enhance carcass value.

    4) Perhaps most importantly, result in more productive and valuable replacement heifers.

    The big question, remains though; "Can these benefits justify the costs of AI?" Recent studies conducted by a number of university and industry researchers suggest that they can, depending on the individual producer's situation. It is also noteworthy that as the beef industry becomes increasingly product and consumer oriented and the national animal identification system is implemented, genetic background will take on greater importance. This may be one of the greatest driving forces for increased use of AI. Also, customers �downstream� from the cow-calf sector (feedyards, packers, etc.) may become familiar with the top AI sires and place added value on their calves.

    Some Facts and Figures

    In a study by Johnson and Jones (2004), based on an extensive survey of beef producers, they used the following costs for their economic projections: natural service bulls, $2,300; semen, $14 per straw of semen; prostaglandin (PG), $2.54 per dose; gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH), $3.21 per dose; melengesterol acetate (MGA), two cents per head per day; CIDR, $9 per insert; total fixed costs of AI (semen tank, etc.), $175.00; labor, $10.77 per hour and the interest rate for cash costs, seven percent.

    Since AI pregnancy rates generally range from 40 to 60 percent; for this example, 50 percent was used. The number of bulls required for cleanup was based on the assumption that one bull was needed per 30 non-pregnant females. Pregnancy rate for the total breeding season was 94 percent (higher than the US natural service average). The AI-sired calves were assumed to be an average of 10 days older and 20 lb. heavier at weaning, thereby returning an additional $25 if the additional weight was worth $1.25/lb. For this study, natural service-sired calves were valued at $500 and AI-sired calves at $525 per head. Breeding system costs per exposed female were reduced by any increased revenue from AI-sired calves and expressed as a 500 lb. equivalent weaned-calf breeding cost per hundredweight. A weaned calf crop percentage of 82 percent was used. Table 1 compares the cost of natural service with that of AI using 11 different ES protocols that are currently available. As shown in Table 1, on the basis of a 500 lb. equivalent weaned calf breeding cost, several systems have costs lower than natural service. Several others are only marginally higher than natural service. Systems involving CIDRs tend to have the highest standardized cost per hundredweight.

    As noted before, natural service bulls were priced at $2,300. This was based on the reported average price of bulls sold from 2000 to 2003. Since then, bull prices have increased significantly, making AI appear more economically feasible than ever. Furthermore, this model did not account for the potential added value of Al-sired replacement heifers, which would markedly enhance the productivity of the cow herd over time.

    Today, the technology exists to successfully inseminate cows at predetermined, fixed times with resulting pregnancy rates that are equivalent to those achieved with heat detection. This is illustrated in Table 2, which is a summary of results from University of Missouri published work, in addition to unpublished data from DeJamette and Wallace of Select Sires Inc.

    University of Kentucky researchers Les Anderson and Paul Deaton (2003) conducted a study comparing ES and AI with natural service using 351 commercial crossbred cows (Anderson and Deaton, 2003). The ES/AI treatment consisted of a 10-day CO-Synch protocol with fixed-time AI at 48 hours after a second injection of GnRH. Cost of ES/AI, including labor, was $29.88 per cow. Following AI, cleanup bulls were turned out for 50 days at a cow:bull ratio of 50:1. The natural service cows were exposed to bulls for 60 days at a cow:bull ratio of 25:1. Calves in both treatments were given a value of $80/cwt. which was the going market value for weaned calves at the time. As shown in Table 3, cows in the ES/AI treatment weaned 109 lb. more calf per cow exposed than those bred by natural service. The extra revenue generated in the ES/AI treatment would be 109 lb. x 80 cents = $87.20 per cow. Therefore, net return on the investment in ES/AI would be $87.20 - $29.88 = $57.32 per cow. This does not include the important long-term economic benefits of increased maternal productivity that could accrue from retaining heifers sired by highly proven AI sires.

    To sum it all up, recent research in reproductive physiology has improved and refined AI and ES systems, making them more feasible than ever before for the beef industry. Additionally, the research has shown that adopting AI and ES lends itself to increased profitability and a dramatic increase in the overall quality of the producer's herd.

    Dr. Steve Blezinger is and nutritional and management consultant with an office in Sulphur Springs Texas. He can be reached at 667 CR 4711 Sulphur Springs, TX 75482, by phone at (903) 885-7992 by e-mail at sblez@blnconsult.com. You can also check out BLN Consulting at www.blnconsult.com.

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    Treatments to Optimize the Use of Artificial Insemination and Reproductive Efficiency in Beef Cattle under Tropical Environments

    Treatments to Optimize the Use of Artificial Insemination and Reproductive Efficiency in Beef Cattle under Tropical Environments

    Departamento de Produção Animal, Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia, UNESP, 18618-000 Botucatu, SP, Brazil

    Received 11 May 2010; Revised 27 August 2010; Accepted 30 September 2010

    Academic Editor: Ali Honaramooz

    Copyright © 2011 Ocilon Gomes de Sá Filho and José Luiz Moraes Vasconcelos. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License. which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

    Abstract

    Bos indicus cattle, the preferred genetic group in tropical climates, are characterized by having a lower reproductive efficiency than Bos taurus. The reasons for the poorer reproductive efficiency of the Bos indicus cows include longer lengths of gestation and postpartum anestrus, a short length of estrous behavior with a high incidence of estrus occurring during the dark hours, and puberty at older age and at a higher percentage of body weight relative to mature body weight. Moreover, geography, environment, economics, and social traditions are factors contributing for a lower use of reproductive biotechnologies in tropical environments. Hormonal protocols have been developed to resolve some of the reproductive challenges of the Bos indicus cattle and allow artificial insemination, which is the main strategy to hasten genetic improvement in commercial beef ranches. Most of these treatments use exogenous sources of progesterone associated with strategies to improve the final maturation of the dominant follicle, such as temporary weaning and exogenous gonadotropins. These treatments have caused large impacts on reproductive performance of beef cattle reared under tropical areas.

    Artificial Insemination in Cattle

    Artificial Insemination in Cattle

    Artificial insemination (AI) is a popular, simple and inexpensive treatment of infertility in animals, in which the sperm from the male is collected and introduced artificially, into the reproductive tract of the female for conception. It was in 1780 that the first scientific research in AI of domestic animals, was carried out on dogs. Lazanno Spalbanzani, an Italian scientist, conducted experiments that proved the power of fertilization vested with the spermatozoa and not with the liquid portion of the semen. These studies spearheaded the commercial utilization of this technique for breeding across the globe. Today, AI has emerged as one of the best techniques devised for genetic melioration of farm animals. This is a remarkable method of breeding quality cattle, in the most natural way possible. AI is being carried out in a large number of buffaloes and cows and is extremely useful in countries like India, wherein quality sires have been scarce. Artificial insemination in cattle has taken care of this major obstacle in the path of cattle improvement.

    Artificial Insemination Technique
    The process of artificial insemination in cattle involves the deposition of semen, in the vagina of the cow, at the most appropriate time for acceptable conception rates. This is the same way conception is achieved after natural mating. However, this technique has been altered due to its low conception rates and high requirement of sperms. As a result, another technique called 'rectovaginal technique' is quite popular today. This technique involves the insertion of a disposable, sterile catheter containing thawed semen into the vagina of the cow. The catheter is then guided into the spiral folds of the cervix into the uterus, with the help of a gloved hand in the rectum. Some part of the semen is deposited inside the uterus, while the rest of it is left in the cervix as the catheter is withdrawn.

    Some people recommend deposition of semen in the cervix canal, with no further deposition in the uterus, of previously inseminated cows. This is because there are chances of pregnancy. This rectovaginal technique is quite complex and requires patience and practice to achieve successful insemination. The timing of insemination also plays a crucial role, as there is a time when maximum conception can be expected.

    Advantages of Artificial Insemination

    Quality Sires. During natural breeding, males deposit more than the theoretically required quantities of semen into the female's reproductive tract for conception. AI method involves dilution of collected semen so as to create hundreds of doses from one ejaculate. Thus, AI makes superior sire semen to be available to hundreds of female cows. Artificial insemination in dairy cattle, leads to sires of inheritance for butter fat and milk production. Prior to AI, only few cows could have the advantage of good bulls.

    Decreased Costs and Increased Safety. Bulls are bigger and stronger than cows and generally quite difficult to handle around the farm. Their aggressive nature can make them potential threats on the farm. However, AI eliminates the need to have a bull on the farm, as semen can be easily transported to various geographical areas. They can also be stored for a long period of time, which means the semen from a male can be used even after a bull's natural reproductive life ends. Since maintaining males costs quite a bit, AI decreases the overall costs on the farm.

    Reduction in Disease Transmission. The transfer of venereal diseases is quite likely to happen during natural mating. Certain pathogens can be transferred via the semen into the female, during AI as well, however, the screening done after semen collection prohibits this transfer.

    Genetic Selection Improvement. Since one male's semen is more than enough to produce hundreds of offspring, the best few males can be selected for breeding. This helps maintain the vigor of the cattle breed. Artificial insemination in beef cattle helps maintain the genetic pool, thereby obtaining the right strain of beef cattle, required for meat production. Bulls of high genetic merit are available with AI.

    Despite all the pros, AI does have its share of cons. It requires dexterity, patience, knowledge, experience, as well as specialized equipment. Improper ways of carrying out AI in animal species, such as improper sterilization of equipment, unsanitary conditions, etc. can nullify the efforts taken to obtain conception. The severe climatic conditions prevalent in most parts of India makes transportation and preservation of semen difficult. Moreover, the need for superior germ plasm has reduced the market for bulls.

    Last Updated: September 19, 2011