UI Test Shows Revised Cattle Breeding
Protocol May Increase Conception Rate

MOSCOW, Idaho — University of Idaho beef cattle research shows promise in helping ranchers improve the efficiency of their herds through more effective breeding practices. UI animal scientist Amin Ahmadzadeh conducted the research on 70 cross-bred cows at the Nancy M. Cummings Research, Extension and Education Center near Salmon, which is operated by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

The research focused on the use of a common breeding protocol intended to synchronize cows' reproductive cycles. The protocol induces cows to ovulate at a predictable time followed by artificial insemination. Ahmadzadeh tested the addition of estradiol cypionate to boost the conception rate. His testing of the revised method showed that the conception rate after artificial insemination improved to 80percent, compared with 66percent using the current method without estradiol cypionate.

Cattle producers benefit from synchronized breeding programs because they can shorten the herd's calving period. That means ranchers can spend a shorter time on constant watch for newborn calves or cows with complications. Over the longer run, synchronized breeding programs also give producers more potential to profit. Cattle delivered in larger lots can command higher prices. Artificial insemination can cut the producers' costs while improving the quality of calves.

Ahmadzadeh will present his research at the Western Section of the American Society of Animal Science in June at Fort Collins, Colo. The research continues this year with more attention focused on the effect of estradiol cypionate on the timing of artificial insemination. "This is the continuation of last year's trial and should provide us with more data and provide more conclusive results," Ahmadzadeh said.

"The Cummings Center herd gives us the opportunity to do herd-scale testing and get results that will be more meaningful to producers," said Richard Battaglia, UI Animal and Veterinary Sciences Department head and center superintendent.

The Idaho Cattle Association and Idaho producers have responded to the center's research potential by donating more than 100 cows to the university. Under a three-year gift agreement between the university and the Auen Foundation of Palm Springs, Calif., private donations must total 130 cows for the university to secure ownership of the center.

The former Hot Springs Ranch near Carmen, Idaho, was donated last year by the foundation established by Ron and Sherrie Auen. The center honors Sherrie Auen's late mother who loved the upper Salmon River Valley.