Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension
Iowa State University

Extension Lead(s)
(name, position, counties served, contact information)

Garland Dahlke, Program Splst.II campus,
Sherry Hoyer, Media Splst IBC, IPIC, campus,
313c Kildee Hall ISU

Your Position


POW # and Team

 ­­­­­_____100 Corn and Soybean Production and Protection
­­­­­_____ 110 Dairy
­­­­­_____ 120 Farm and Business Management
­­­­­_____ 130 Horticulture: Commercial and Consumer
­­­­­_x___ 140 Iowa Beef Center
­­­­­_____ 150 Iowa Pork Industry Center
­­­­­_____ 160 Natural Resources and Stewardship

ANR Priority (select all that apply)

­­­­­_____Global Food Security and Hunger
­­­­­_____Regional Food Systems
­­­­­_____Natural Resources & Environmental Stewardship
­­­­­_____Food Safety
­­­­­_____Sustainable Energy – Biofuels & Biobased Products
­­­­­_____Climate Change

Title of Success Story

On-line Synch

Continuing Story

__x___ No                _____  Yes (If continuing, what story?)

Knowledge Areas: (USDA categories)


Desired Changes

Facilitate the use of artificial insemination in beef cattle through the use of effective estrus synchronization systems that have been illustrated using software for the end user in a clear calendar approach and made accessible through the internet.  Then maintaining contact with users in order to provide updates, new technology and in person conference location details for further education on the topic.

(Why is it important to address this issue with education?  What are the desired changes?)

Beef is a staple in the diet of Americans and for many around the world.  The reproduction of beef cattle is fundamental to providing this output, but unlike many of the other animal production schemes today which are quite labor intensive, beef calf producers tend to be fairly “hands-free” and therefore do not use technologies like AI extensively which generally can provide access to more productive genetics.  Research has found some effective ways to allow fixed time mating which facilitates AI sire use, but the techniques are complex and intimidate the user.  This software maintains a database of the synchronization systems, outlining the good and potential problems of each.  It then provides a clear, concise layout of how to use the appropriate system in a simple day-by day layout, highlighting the significant timing elements that allow the system to work effectively.  

(Outputs: activities, numbers reached, publications, products)

In the first 4.5 months this software was made available 1,781 unique individuals have downloaded the software for use in their herds or their client’s herds.  These individuals represent cattle in 20 different countries besides the USA and in the USA, 45 states have been affected.   This demographic information was only easily summarized due to the front end information capturing page users fill out to access the software.


RESULTS (Outcomes:  specific changes that occurred in Learning, Actions, Conditions; how outcomes were measured)

In the past  this software was sold through ISU Extn. Distrib. with approximately 200 copies distributed to producers and industry supporting members annually.  By working with the Beef Reproductive Task Force and The Nat. Assoc. of Animal Breeders and making this available to the public via the world wide web interest has grown immensely (already 8.5x higher than the annual total in the first quarter of the first year this has been released) in regards to trying a synchronization program for mating cattle.  The number of users are significant, but what is more significant is that now we have a wider reach which the Beef Repro. Task Force needs since this core group is not contained in Iowa alone, but rather is composed of extension, beef reproduction specialists representing  seven states with cooperating associates to the task force representing another seven states and four major AI companies.

Along with the sheer numbers of downloads recorded through the on-line questionnaire, we provided a place for individuals to provide feedback in terms of ‘how to’ questions, impressions or general comments on the technology.  In general we seem to get a response back for every 30 copies distributed.

With the ability to maintain contact with users the Task Force now has an opportunity to utilize an extensive mailing list and this will now be implemented this summer for the Task Force’s summer conference.

Public Value (now or future)
(Impact:  Who benefits beyond participants and how?  What conditions changed?)

This effort has a direct target to the general public in that this project generates beef (food).  The impact of this aspect when compare to the status quo is that this program promotes the use of a higher level of reproductive management in beef cattle generating results in terms of more pounds of available beef by giving producers confidence in trying better bulls (genetics) through artificial insemination where in the past the complexity of the protocols required to synchronize cattle for an AI mating was frustrating.


Major Partners or Collaborators

National Association of Animal Breeders, Beef Reproduction Task Force & Iowa Beef Center

Where story took place
(Region, campus, multi-regional)

Iowa State University campus

Fiscal Year


Multi-state or Integrated (Ext + Research)


Funding Source

National Association of Animal Breeders


Beef Cattle, Reproduction, Estrus Synchronization, Artificial Insemination


Page last updated: June 22, 2011
Page maintained by Julie Honeick,