An economic evaluation of estrous synchronization and timed artificial insemination in suckled beef cows.
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Partial budget analysis was used to determine the economic outcome of estrus synchronization (ES) and timed artificial insemination (TAI) in commercial cow-calf production. Suckled beef cows (n = 1,197) from 8 locations were assigned randomly within each location to 1 of 2 treatment groups: 1) cows were inseminated artificially after synchronization of ovulation using the CO-Synch + CIDR protocol, which includes a 100-g injection of GnRH (OvaCyst; TevaAnimal Health, St. Joseph, MO) when a controlled internal drug-releasing device (CIDR; Pfizer Animal Health, New York, NY) containing 1.38 g of progesterone was inserted. The CIDR was removed 7 d later, and cows received a 25-mg injection of PGF(2) (PGF; Lutalyse; Pfizer Animal Health), followed in 66 h with TAI and a second 100-g injection of GnRH (TAI; n = 582), and 2) cows were exposed to natural service (NS) without estrous synchronization (Control; n = 615). Within each herd, cows from both treatments were maintained together in similar pastures and were exposed to bulls 12 h after the last cow in the TAI treatment was inseminated. Overall, the percentage of cows exposed to treatments that subsequently weaned a calf was greater (P < 0.05) for TAI (84%) than Control (78%) cows. In addition, survival analysis demonstrated that cumulative calving distribution differed (P < 0.05) between the TAI and Control treatments. Weaning weights per cow exposed to treatments were greater (P < 0.01) for cows in the TAI treatment (193.4 4.3 kg) than those cows in the Control treatment (175.9 4.3 kg). Overall, increased returns plus decreased costs ($82.32) minus decreased returns plus increased costs ($33.18) resulted in a $49.14 advantage per exposed cow in the TAI treatment compared with the Control treatment. Location greatly influenced weaned calf weights, which may have been a result of differing management, nutrition, genetic selection, production goals, and environments. We concluded that ES and TAI had a positive economic impact on subsequent weaning weights of exposed cows.