Artificial insemination (AI) program results are optimised by managing:
- Cow/heifer selection and management
- Heat detection
- Synchronisation of oestrus
- Semen handling and insemination technique.
Selection of cow/heifer
Any female used in an AI program must be on a rising plane of nutrition. Many AI programs are run with maiden heifers, as they are under much less stress than lactating cows and provide better submission rates. Mature cows are better to use than first calvers that are always the hardest to get back in calf.
The accurate detection of standing heat and the resulting timing of insemination are critical to an AI program’s success. Clear identification of individual animals, record keeping, visual observation for signs of heat and, where necessary, the use of heat detection aids are all critical factors in an AI program.