Reproductive Management of Beef Females in Tropical and Sub-Tropical Environment
By: Dr. Emily Taylor
Seventy percent of the worlds cattle population is located in a tropical or sub-tropical environment. “We need to be leaders,” Dr. Cliff Lamb from Texas A&M explained as he began discussing reproductive management of beef females. Bos Indicus cattle, most prevalent in the tropical and sub-tropical areas, provide unique advantages when compared to the Bos Taurus breeds. They excel in their adaptive nature to handle high temperatures and are more parasite resistant. However, one trait that is less than ideal is their reproductive capacity. It is common for a Bos Indicus heifer to reach puberty around the age of 2, even though, Bos Taurus are closer to 9-12 months. In addition, Bos Indicus cattle have shorter periods of estrus and often show heat at night, making it difficult for producers to catch heats.
Pregnancy rates using artificial insemination are often below the industry standards, due to these challenges. However, timed-AI protocols have been developed and are being used to mitigate. Dr. Lamb discussed the differences in the protocols and the sensitivity of certain hormones that leave the Bos Indicus breeds reliant on these alterations. In vitro fertilization provides a potential for improvement because they are known to have increased amounts of antral follicles. IVF is continuing to improve protocols and will only get better.
In conclusion, being adaptive to the challenges facing the Bos Indicus breeds will only enhance their production and maximize the potential for profit.