Beef Estrus Synchronization Webcast

Byron Leu, Livestock Field Specialist, Southeast Iowa


Developing and incorporating an estrus synchronization program into a beef operation can be challenging as well as expensive. Numerous synchronization options and alternatives are available--all requiring detailed, specific procedures and protocol. Many producers have difficulty sorting through these different systems and options--especially from the standpoint of expected reproduction rates, protocol, labor needs, and system costs. Using a synch program that doesn't fit an operation's goals and/or a system's specific protocol can lead to a breeding program disaster.


The Beef Estrus Synchronization Webcast was developed and facilitated by Dr. Daryl Strohbehn, ISU Extension Beef Specialist, and Byron Leu, ISU Livestock Field Specialist. This webcast, featuring Dr. Cliff Lamb from the University of Minnesota and Dr. Strohbehn from Iowa State University, addressed estrus synchronization recommendations for implementing a successful breeding program. Drs. Lamb and Strohbehn discussed 'fixed-time' AI, methods of estrus control, and a breeding female evaluation system. The Iowa Beef Center's Estrus Synchronization Planner was featured during the program, providing producers with a decision and informational support system as synch programs are developed and finalized. This software provides detailed information for over 20 estrus synch systems, presents recommendations for both cow and heifer systems, develops a specific calendar of activity, and generates cost analysis. The webcast was delivered to a total of 29 sites in three states--Iowa (25 sites), Minnesota (3 sites), and North Dakota (1 site). Pfizer Animal Health and the Iowa Beef Center provided financial support for the webcast. A registration fee was charged.


Over 275 producers and agri-business representatives at 29 different webcast sites attended the Beef Estrus Synchronization Webcast.. It should be noted that the program delivery via webcast is a relatively new approach to educational programming. Initially, the program was challenged by technical difficulties on campus. However, support staff was able to determine and correct the problem in a relatively short time. The video and audio quality of the program greatly improved after the modifications were completed. Of the 143 completed surveys, over 92% of the responses indicated that the webcast delivery system was acceptable, with over 95% of the responses indicating attendees would attend future webcast programs. The webcast approach is an opportunity to expand program efforts at the local level, involve more nationally recognized experts in ISU Extension programs, and reduce travel costs and overall program expenses.

The attendee rating for the overall program was 7.96 on a 10-point scale, a surprisingly positive response considering the initial technical difficulties. Presentation topics also were well received, with the four presentations receiving ratings of 4.01 to 4.28 on a 5-point scale.

Responses to the survey indicated that 75% were currently using estrus synchronization systems in their operation. CIDR use was a popular response as was the MGA systems. Nearly 74% of the responses indicated that they were or are planning to use fixed-time AI systems in their operations.

Over 78% of the responses indicated that participants intended to make changes in their operation as a result of the information presented at this program. The incorporation of fixed-time AI into future breeding plans was a popular response (23 responses). Other 'change' highlights included time breeding heifers (5 responses), using GnRH (4 responses), exploring CIDR programs (8 responses).

The Estrus Synchronization Planner continues to be a positive decision-making tool for beef producers. Over 58% of the responses indicated that the 'Synch04' software was being used as future beef breeding decisions were being finalized. These results reflect the importance of this tool as producers determine which system is 'best' for their operation. Without question, this IBC software is 'impacting' the beef industry!

March 12, 2005
107 - Iowa Beef Center, 2nd (Jan - March)

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