Faced with ever-increasing input costs, a shrinking beef herd and global competition, U.S. beef producers will have to seize new opportunities to build a better beef animal and better profits.
"Existing technology is on the shelf and ready to use," David Patterson told an audience of more than 400 beef producers, veterinarians, scientists and allied industry at a national conference in Joplin.
The University of Missouri animal scientist is a member of the Beef Reproduction Task Force, which hosted the 2011 Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle Conference. Patterson, one of the nation's top researchers in the field of fixed-time artificial insemination, kicked off the conference with an overview of fixed-timed AI protocols for cows and heifers. In this month's Missouri Ruralist Web Exclusive video, we feature Patterson, along with conference speakers Mike Kasten, a beef producer from Millersville, and Ky Pohler, an MU animal science graduate student.
Research on fixed-time AI has been underway at MU Thompson Farm, Spickard, for the past 15 years. The results were farm-tested on 73 herds across the state. With fixed-time AI breeding, it is possible to stack genetics. Both calving ease and growth genetics can be achieved, for example. Patterson and his MU Extension team are now confident enough in the protocols to start on-farm demonstrations around the state this past year.
Many progressive beef producers have already adopted this breeding tool, but Patterson issued a challenge that every producer in the nation should be using it. "The Brazilian beef industry is going to clean our clock if U.S. beef industry doesn't adopt fixed-time AI soon," he said.
Missouri beef producer Mike Kasten, Millersville, is on track to producing high quality beef. Kasten raises and markets Show-Me-Select replacement heifers and started a beef producer alliance in southeast Missouri in 1995. He has now adopted a fixed-time AI system, which has allowed him to eliminate the extra labor of daily heat detection watches, improve his herd genetics with the use of high-accuracy AI bulls, and produce a more uniform calf crop.
"Fixed-time AI helps me take the guesswork out of beef genetics and beef improvement," Kasten said. "I can really see the value of multiple-generation stacked genetics."
Beef conference proceedings available
The 2011Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle Conference addressed all aspects, from breeding, to nutrition and health, to marketing of high quality beef. Printed proceedings from the Joplin conference can be purchased for $25. For information on ordering, send an e-mail request to [email protected].