Artificial Insemination in Cattle


  • Artificial insemination is the process of depositing semen from a bull directly into the reproductive tract of a female cow. There is no contact between the bull and the cow.


  • GENETICS: Artificial insemination allows a producer to use semen from bulls all over the world. This means you can bring new genetics and desirable traits into your herd. Semen companies carry semen from bulls with known progeny traits. For example, you could choose a bull with calving ease so that you have easier births, especially for heifers. You can also choose sexed semen which will allow you to have more heifer calves. This is especially helpful for dairies.
  • BULL MANAGEMENT: If you use artificial insemination, you do not have to keep and feed a bull or in some cases not as many bulls. Bulls are expensive to feed and you can generally add 2 cows for 1 bull that you can eliminate from the herd. Not having a bull means increased safety for workers and less fencing repair. Cows bred via artificial insemination have a decreased risk of venereal disease.  
  • SHORTENED BREEDING SEASON: Artificial insemination can be set up with a timed protocol which allows you to control when the cows are bred and therefore when your calves are born. This means you can have calves grouped together and have earlier calves. When calves are born closer together, they have a decreased risk of disease. The earlier calves are born, the heavier their weaning weights.


  • LABOR: Artificial insemination requires training and takes time. Generally speaking, the cows must be worked three separate times to facilitate AI.
  • COST: There is a cost associated with artificial insemination. This includes facilities to work the cattle, but also equipment, medication, and the semen itself.

Artificial insemination is an excellent way to bring new genetics into your herd and have greater control over the breeding of your cows. Pregnancy rates are generally between 60-70% but might require a clean-up bull to breed the remaining cattle. With the right facilities and management, artificial insemination can be an excellent reproductive management strategy.

Dr. Barton Artificially Inseminating a Hereford

Updated: May 23, 2021 — 10:03 am

The Author

Emily Barton

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