National Beef Association
For everyone with an interest in the British beef industry

Maximizing the use of artificial insemination in suckler herds

Category: Suckled Calf Production

An article on ‘Maximizing the use of artificial insemination in suckler herds’ by Frederico Randi and colleagues of Teagasc was presented at an open day at the Grange Beef Research Centre in Ireland in 2016 and is available below.
There is a lot of technical detail on the use of AI in the article with a brief summary from Simon Marsh, Harper Adams University shown below:


  • Current usage of artificial insemination (AI) is low in Irish suckler herds and this has implications for the speed of genetic improvement.
  • Beef farmers can use a specific breeding programme especially to produce quality herd replacements.
  • AI should particularly be targeted at the beginning of the breeding season when heat detection is easiest.
  • A timed AI synchronisation programme should be considered where labour requirements of heat detection are impractical.
  • Most synchronisation programmes involve double insemination. A programme for a single timed AI is outlined in the article.
  • The summary of a study involving 2,200 cows in 85 herds in Ireland (north and south) with the single timed AI programme are discussed. Pregnancy rates ranged from 50-70% in these trials, with a very acceptable overall average pregnancy rate of 55% achieved to a single timed inseminations
  • It is expected that sexed semen will become more widely available in the next number of years.  Currently, conception rates are 10-15 percentage points below those achieved with conventional frozen thawed semen.  Current recommendations are that sexed semen should only be used in replacement heifers which are normally highly fertile (expected conception rates of 65-75% to a single service using frozen thawed conventional semen).  Even at a conception rate of 50%, the use of sexed semen to produce high genetic merit female replacements may be worthwhile provided the premium on the sexed semen is not excessive.