(Bob) Turning out a bull is easier than using artificial insemination, but is it better? Not if you’re counting the many benefits of AI for beef cattle, says an expert in the field. (Lorna Marshall) It allows you to improve the reproductive efficiency of your cowherd, because we shorten your calving interval, we get more out of those cows to calve in the first 21 days. It can be used as a risk management tool to remove some of the risk that you would find with unproven bulls. And then I think the other advantage is that it really allows you to select genetics that are going to fit your marketing, environment that you’re maybe going to try to market those cattle, as well as your feed environment. (Bob) The large variety of genetics available with AI shouldn’t intimidate producers. One strategy is to narrow choices by selecting for desired EPDs, or expected progeny differences, or other traits. (Marshall) That can be fleshing ability, maybe improving feet, things like that. So there’s a wide range of, you know, of discussions that we have with our producers in terms of selecting bulls. The fewer bulls you use, the more uniformity you’re going to have. Particularly, if you’re trying to improve certain traits, we may want to really target a narrow group of bulls that are going to allow you to move forward for things like, you know, heifer pregnancy or marbling or something specific that you’re trying to improve. (Bob) Proven AI sires can foster rapid improvement, without sacrificing their herd’s maternal instincts, Marshall says. (Marshall) We can make those genetics available to you at a really, you know, very reasonable cost that’s competitive with the bull and yet, because they are so genetically balanced and really good across the board, they’re going to allow you to make genetic improvements in a lot of ways, including end product merit. (Bob) I’m Bob Cervera.