The first step for us during breeding season is to synchronize the cow herd by inserting CIDRs (Controlled Internal Drug Release). This is a vaginal insert that contains progesterone. This starts the 10-day process where the cows are all in heat and bred the same day.
The cows are matched to the AI sire who will give them the best balance to their offspring. I look back on past records and carcass data, and from this information I select for docility, weaning and yearling weights, calving ease, carcass merit, and feed efficiency. After the cows and heifers are AI bred, we wait 14 days and turn out cleanup bulls with the herd. The bulls are left there for 46 days before we pull them out. The bulls complete the 60 day breeding season.
Angela is working on Cow Sense; Cow Sense is a herd management software that is used to track performance of the cow herd and calves. All of our animals have an electronic tag placed in their ear at birth. We are able to scan that tag with an EID reader that is linked via bluetooth to my laptop. We pull up each animal as they come through the chute to enter breeding information. The weigh scales are linked to the computer to enter weights of the calves during weaning.
PICTURED LEFT TO RIGHT: Charlie Slykhuis, Dustin McGuire, Todd Slykhuis, Brandon Burnett, Caleb Huelsmann, Craig Huelsmann, Kevin Mayberry, Keith Oglesby, Dan Evans
Our last day of breeding season was the biggest, with 96 cows in the group. We had several neighbors assist with AI that day; it is good to see family and friends working together to achieve what ended up being a job well done.