History and development of the Bovine Estrus Synchronization Planner

Wednesday, July 23, 2014: 10:30 AM
2102A (Kansas City Convention Center)
Sandy K. Johnson , Kansas State University, Colby, KS
Garland Dahlke , Iowa State University, Ames, IA
Daryl R Strohbehn , Iowa State Univestiy, Ames, IA
Abstract Text:

The Bovine Estrus Synchronization Planner is an Excel-based tool that aids in the selection and delivery of synchronization protocols.   The development was a response to vocal concerns expressed by technicians, veterinarians and producers to Iowa State University extension beef specialists on the difficulty in managing the product delivery and timing elements of estrus synchronization protocols.   Errors in protocol follow through were common and the resulting poor conception rates unfairly discredited the technology. As a multi-state extension group (now the Beef Reproduction Task Force) was coming together to deal with similar issues related to clear communication on research-based synchronization protocols, an Iowa State specialist approached the group about working together to update the existing planner with the new task force recommendations.  This has been a successful partnership as the group has worked together to improve and update the planner for 10 years.  The original program contained six protocols, but now almost 40 recognized protocols are included. However, the short list of protocols recommended by the task force is highlighted.  At one point there was a charge for the software, but over time the group has achieved enough industry sponsorship to provide the program as a free download at http://www.iowabeefcenter.org/estrus_synch.html.  Today, the planner has more independent users than any of the other Iowa State University Animal Science software.  The most recent development is a shortened version for use on handheld devices (www.estrussynch.com).  Through the following steps;  identification of research proven protocols, designation of most appropriate use of protocols, direction on proper implementation and stressing the importance of timing through the use of a calendar printout, the Estrus Synch software has clarified  the necessary details to the end user.  An online survey of AI users in 2013 (42 states represented) indicated 36% had downloaded the planner; of which 41% used it frequently, 15% used it 3-5 times and 31% used it less than twice and 13% had not used it.  Users strongly agreed or agreed that the planner was easy to use (79%), made scheduling easier (77%), reduced errors (68%), improved communication (71%), helped achieve timely planning and preparation (73%), and directed them to a more appropriate protocol (57%).  Suggestions made by users were included in the 2014 version.  The Estrus Synchronization Planner has been a useful tool in the proper implementation of synchronization protocols.  Efforts to inform potential users of its availability must continue.

Keywords: Estrous Synchronization, decision tools, evaluation