Efficiency is a huge thing is the production agriculture world. I mean, when each farmer is feeding 155 people, new technologies must be utilized, environmental friendly practices are paramount, and having a little luck getting all your ducks in a row never hurt anyone.
New practices to make breeding cows more efficient are not only important, but encouraged by farmers everywhere! Artificial Insemination (A.I.) is a method that is widely used today. But when you are dealing with 100+ heifers, it can be tricky to know when just the right window of time is.
You see, there are about 12 hours during the heifer’s estrus cycle when it is the best time for breeding. In a perfect world, all the heifers will come into heat (which means they are cycling and are ready to be bred) around the same time. This is ideal because:
1) You won’t miss as many heifers since they are all ready to breed.
2) You will have a shorter calving time frame, which is good for a couple of reasons: so all your calves are the same age so they can be fed out about the same time, or for customers who want to buy large groups of ‘uniform’ looking calves.
This is why estrus synchronization is such a popular practice. There are a few ways to go about this, from feed additives to inserts called Cidrs. While we have done both at my house, lately we have stuck with the latter.
This is what a Cidr looks like. Infused with 1.38 grams of Progesterone, when inserted, the heifer’s body thinks it is pregnant due to the elevated hormone level.
This would be Esther’s close up for the day. Her and I were put in charge of this project. It was quality bonding time.
Here the Cidr is in the applicator, ready to do big things.
I really like this picture. I mostly just think it is funny. Esther looks like she isn’t excited to be the star of my blogs all the time, but secretly I know she loves it.
This process doesn’t hurt the heifer. In fact, it is so little they hardly can feel it.
The applicator is dipped and swirled in a disinfectant solution between each animal. Cleanliness comes first around here.
The Cidrs will be pulled this Saturday, one week after being inserted. The removal will cause the progesterone level to drop, the heifer’s body to realize that it isn’t pregnant after all, and therefore cause the heifer to cycle and come into heat so it can be bred at the beginning of next week.
Research, combined with technology, never ceases to amaze me.