Animal Science Department


Date of this Version

December 1993


Published for Proceedings, The Range Beef Cow Symposium XIII December 6, 7, & 8, 1993, Cheyenne, WY.


The term "reproductive biotechnology" has different meanings in different circumstances. I will use a broad definition that ranges from estrus synchronization to DNA manipulation. By far the most relevant and important reproductive biotechnology for beef cattle production is artificial insemination. It is shocking that only around 5% of calves of beef cattle breeds in this country are sired via this biotechnology, but I will not discuss artificial insemination further because the methodology, costs, and applications are well known. In my opinion, the second most important reproductive biotechnology is estrous cycle synchronization; I'll not cover this further because there will be an entire paper devoted to it in this symposium. An important third reproductive biotechnology, ultrasound, also will be covered by another speaker.

Over the next decade, all other reproductive technologies added together will not sum up to the importance of artificial insemination plus estrus synchronization. In fact, most other reproductive biotechnologies currently are completely inappropriate for most beef cattle operations. On the other hand, there will be profitable but specialized niches in some operations for application of nearly all of the biotechnologies that I will describe.