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Cost-Benefit Analysis of Timed A.I. and Natural Service in Beef Cattle


  • Griffith, Andrew P.
  • Boyer, Christopher N.
  • Rhinehart, Justin D.
  • Carter, Courtney


Cattle breeders have long used natural service (NS) breeding (i.e., live bulls breeding cows as they naturally show heat), and it remains the predominant practice for most cow-calf producers. However, many cattle breeders have embraced the use of reproductive technologies such as artificial insemination (AI), estrus synchronization (ES) and embryo transfer (ET). The use of AI — more specifically timed AI (TAI; synchronized estrus to inseminate all cows in a group at the same time) — has garnered increased attention from seedstock and commercial producers over the past decade. There are several reasons producers have adopted AI including: • Access to genetics from sires that are cost prohibitive if purchasing a bull for natural service. • Selecting genetics from multiple bulls to complement individual cows in the same mating group. • Owning and managing fewer bulls. • Narrowing the time frame of calving for the herd. TAI has been widely adopted in beef production because it offers the benefits of AI, while reducing and concentrating the quantity of labor related to estrous detection (“checking heat”). Moreover, the modern ES protocols for TAI can shorten the calving season while increasing overall calving rate. Even with these positive attributes, and numerous other benefits, many producers still view TAI as cost prohibitive. Thus, it is imperative to compare the costs and benefits for both TAI and NS to determine which breeding program is the most ideal for a given scenario. Given the production benefits from TAI mentioned above, a clear indication of whether the production benefits exceed additional costs should be reached before deciding to implement this breeding technology in an operation. The objective of this paper is to compare the costs and revenues resulting from TAI against the costs and revenues resulting from NS breeding systems. These attributes will be compared across different size operations and across the typical range of pregnancy rates expected from application of a single TAI to begin the breeding season.

Suggested Citation

  • Griffith, Andrew P. & Boyer, Christopher N. & Rhinehart, Justin D. & Carter, Courtney, 2020. "Cost-Benefit Analysis of Timed A.I. and Natural Service in Beef Cattle," Extension Reports 303636, University of Tennessee, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:utaeer:303636
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.303636

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    Farm Management; Financial Economics; Livestock Production/Industries;
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