October 30, 2007
Missouri is stepping up and becoming a national leader in the study and application of beef cow fixed-time artificial insemination.
USDA has awarded David Patterson at the University of Missouri with not one but two grants to support "technology transfer" of fixed-time AI to beef herds. The first $367,000 grant promoted on-farm fixed-time AI. The second, for $500,000, awarded in September, will finance research using high-accuracy superior sires to determine the market potential for calves with improved genetics.
"Missouri received the very first integrated grant issued by USDA in the area of beef reproduction," says Patterson, a MU Extension beef specialist. USDA is also touting the Show-Me State approach of combining research, Extension and education and encouraging other states to try it. The research is taken not only to farms, but also to classrooms in the College of Agriculture and Veterinary School.
Most grants, until that first Missouri grant, were for deep technology, unlocking reproductive science. "The Missouri grants are very practical, take-it-to-the-farm technology," he adds.
The MU Thompson Farm at Spickard now draws national attention for the pioneering work started 10 years ago on TAI. In the second phase, research moves to working farms. There, proven methods are fine-tuned for farmer use.
"This puts Missouri in position to be leaders nationally," Patterson says. "We can supply the types of replacement heifers that beef herds need. And, we can supply steers with superior growth and carcass characteristics that feedlots want."
Read Duane Dailey's special report on fixed-time AI in the upcoming November issue of Missouri Ruralist.
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