Can beef fertility management improve cattle productivity


A holistic approach to effective reproductive management of beef cows and heifers has been discussed throughout the veterinary profession but what are the opportunities in British beef farming? In this post we draw on the views of Professor David Patterson, from Missouri State University, after he recently discussed the benefits of good fertility management and the value it can offer to farmers.

“AI and breeding protocols simply do not work in beef systems.”

This was thoroughly disproven in Bristol during a fascinating talk by Professor Patterson. With more than 130,000 heifers enrolled over the last 10 years, David outlined how attention to detail using their breeding strategy, has contributed to an estimated $120million to the Missouri economy.

The Bristol fertility meeting was a brilliant example of how Zoetis and the UK veterinary profession are engaging with new data, techniques and efficiencies. Professor Patterson was enthusiastic to share his experience and knowledge in the development of effective beef breeding programmes that have proven a winning combination for producers in Missouri.

Strategy and Success

A comprehensive breeding strategy is important to give producers the best chance of good success. This involves a number of stages and not simply enrolling all animals on a designated synch program and hoping for the best.  Their system concentrates on breeding maternal replacements from heifers, with high genetic merit AI bulls. This will allow development of a more productive herd of cows and efficient suckler calves from these maternal lines. Quick genetic improvement of the herd, over and above what most stock bulls can deliver, is also a useful by-product.

Enrolling heifers early and performing reproductive tract scoring and pelvic measurements allowed for improved selection of replacements and better conception rates when AI’d. The vets in the room were keen to develop a service that could be shown to add value to their farmers.

When run effectively these breeding programs were shown to match or exceed conception rates achieved by natural service. This, combined with the shortening of the breeding season and accelerated genetic improvement, is a big opportunity for beef farmers in the UK.

The discussions surrounding beef fertility management are happening throughout the UK, as seen at our Northern Ireland event. The needs for services that add value to farms in this manor are being seen by the veterinary community more than ever before. For more information on the benefits of proactively managing herd fertility, download our leaflet.

For further information, please see the product SPC, or contact your veterinary surgeon, SQP or Zoetis UK Ltd, Walton Oaks, Dorking Road, Walton on the Hill, Tadworth, Surrey, KT20 7NS. Customer Support 0845 3008034. . Always seek the advice of your medicines provider. Use medicines responsibly (