Impacts of Reproductive Technologies on Beef Production in the United States Chapter uri icon


  • Estimations of world population growth indicate that by the year 2050 we will reach nine billion habitants on earth. These estimates impose a tremendous challenge in the current agricultural systems as food supply will need to increase by 100 % in the next 40 years (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 2009). Beef will be a primary protein source that will assist in meeting the requirements for a portion of the protein in diets of this expanding global populace. Beef is a high-quality protein that contains all essential amino acids for the human body and also contains additional essential nutrients such as iron, zinc, B vitamins, riboflavin, selenium, choline, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Adopting reproductive technologies at greater rates than currently used is a viable method to dramatically enhance production efficiency of beef cattle enterprises.Artificial insemination (AI), estrous synchronization and fixed-time AI (TAI), semen and embryo cryopreservation, multiple ovulation and embryo transfer (MOET), in vitro fertilization, sex determination of sperm or embryos, and nuclear transfer are technologies that are used to enhance the production efficiency of beef operations. In many cases, the development of these technologies is responsible for significant changes to traditional livestock production practices. However, adoption of these technologies appears to has not grown at the same rate in the United States as other formidable beef producing nations. For example, sales of beef semen for AI increased from 3.3 to 11.9 million units between 1993 and 2011 in Brazil, whereas that in the United States has increased from 2.9 to 3.8 million units during the same period. The significant increases in adoption of reproductive technologies in developing countries is likely as a result of the development of practical estrous synchronization and TAI systems that have allowed beef producers the opportunity to eliminate detection of estrus in their AI programs with a high degree of success. In the United States, slow adoption rates of these technologies may result in a future loss of international market share of beef products as other nations take advantage not only of the additional kilogram of beef that can be produced but also the improved quality of beef that can be realized through incorporation of reproductive technologies and resultant genetic improvement. However, current difficulties the US producers have with the incorporation of applied reproductive technologies, such as TAI, MOET, and sex semen, must not be the reason to overlook and incorporate more traditional reproductive technologies such as castration, breeding season management, or weaning. In many cases, beef producers in the United States fail to incorporate these more traditional technologies, which results in a reduction in production efficiency of the US beef industry. This chapter will focus on both traditional and more developed reproductive technologies that will play a role in enhancing future production efficiencies of the US beef cattle production system.

author list (cited authors)

  • Dahlen, C., Larson, J., & Lamb, G. C.

Book Title

  • Current and Future Reproductive Technologies and World Food Production

publication date

  • January 1, 2013 11:11 AM