The importance of pregnancies in a dairy cattle herd cannot be understated. With estimates of the value of a pregnancy ranging from $200 to $500, focusing on breeding cows can be rewarding financially. Many times, the reproductive program becomes an afterthought rather than a planned program. We have seen instances of improvement in number of pregnancies simply by putting cows on a predetermined time AI program. This has benefited the producer by increasing the number of pregnant cows in a year. Ultimately, this will lead to an increased number of heifers and flexibility in voluntary culling decisions.

This manual is intended to help producers with understanding the concepts, economics of reproduction, and synchronization programs that could be used on their operations. Funding for this manual was provided by the Missouri Dairy Growth Council and the work was completed in February 2009 by the University of Missouri Extension Commercial Agriculture Dairy Team, led by Dr. Scott Poock.