real cost of AI

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moloss

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now I have a bull that I really like and will have him for another couple of years but after that time I was thinking about AI and what it would really cost me.....I have about 20 momma cows (I'm small time) and don't know if it makes since for me to have a bull or just AI.....now the bull is half your heard so I don't mind paying for a good bull but between getting the shots to get them cycling at the same time and the actual use of the semen..... what am I looking at (knowing you will pay for good semen not to mention my time)......with my current bull I bought him at a great price 1/5 of what the original owners paid for him (cuz he's eight )and will get to use his great genetics for a few years and will probably be able to sell him for more than what I bought him for....what do y'all think? and sorry I kinda all over the place with this.....thanks Chris
 

dun

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If you don;t mess with the sync crap (which has never worked well for us), the school will run a couple of hundred, a good tank maybe around 400, a couple of nitrogen fills a year for another 100 bucks, insemination gun and thaw container 30 bucks, semen from 15-30 bucks could be crazily higher for some bulls/breeds, sleeves, lube, and sheaths 2 bits per breeding. Other then the nitrogen, sheaths, sleeves, lube and semen the others are one time costs
 

pdfangus

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What you did not talk about that i think would be factors are.

what are the goals for your herd?
Are you registered or commercial?
what is the marketing plan for the calves?
Are you or do you have access to, a good AI technician.
Are you planning on building your herd or maintaining and marketing the calves?

I can do along discussion on each of these.
better that you do the discussion with yourself.

those answers will guide you to where you need to go.

Unlike previous posters, we have had excellent results with synchrony and the new protocols are getting better.

We have used AI because we could use genetics we could not afford to buy otherwise and we could use a variety of genetics in a single season. My standard practice for years was to buy semen on each of three proven bulls that appealled to me and ten units of a young bull that looked promising and then mate those bulls to my cows trying to match up what the bulls offered to the needs and strengths of my cows.

My son is in the throes of this discussion with his Farm Owner boss and has demonstrated that he synced and bred bred fifty cows cheaper, and with good conceptions, than the cost of the purchased bull who turned out to miss a lot of his twenty five cows.
 

angus9259

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For me, the main cost is time and handling equipment. Whether you sync or not, heat detection is important then sorting and working cattle to get the one you want to breed all takes being there. Without good handling equipment the continual running through the chute - is also very time consuming and dangerous. We upgraded our handling equipment quite a bit when we shifted to AI - cost $4000.

That said, if you actually have the time and really enjoy that - then time is of little consequence and can actually be cheap fun.

If it were me and I didn't need a spread of genetics for bull production, I would buy a really good bull every couple of years. Which gets back to the point of why you want to AI and how much time you have.
 

pdfangus

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I would disagree about one thing.

the true value of synchrony is that you can skip or at least reduce greatly the heat detection.

cows that have been presynced and then resynced breed very very well on timed AI.

for quite a few years we synched all the herd and bred on heat detection over the cousrse of a week.

any cows not observed in heat or showing only secondary signs or sometimes just cows that the boss cow would not allow to express heat,

I would wait two weeks and resync and breed on time and they always did very well.

Last two years I have just bred on time.
 
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moloss

moloss

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my goals are to upgrade my herd through better genetics.....retain my good heifers.....repeat, repeat, repeat.....and oh sell some really nice calves for as much money as I can :D .....time is my biggest limiting factor....between two young children, wife, my real full time job, etc, etc.....I guess for now it seems maybe just buying a good bull is the easier thing than working the cows with my limited faclities.
 

dun

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moloss":ly1jao9i said:
my goals are to upgrade my herd through better genetics.....retain my good heifers.....repeat, repeat, repeat.....and oh sell some really nice calves for as much money as I can :D .....time is my biggest limiting factor....between two young children, wife, my real full time job, etc, etc.....I guess for now it seems maybe just buying a good bull is the easier thing than working the cows with my limited faclities.
Buy the best bull you can afford and get a second (at least) opinion on the bull from somone that knows your cows, your goals and doesn;t have a vested interest in.
 

pdfangus

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While I do not disagree with Dun's advice.....

It is complicating to add in your desire to keep heifers and build and improve the herd.

If you have enough females to warrant two bulls then no problem but otherwise keeping daugthers means a new bull every two or three years. depends on age of females at first breeding.

In my herd females are bred at 15 months to calve as twos. so a new bull every two years.
 

angus9259

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Expanding genetics and retaining heifers are great reasons to use AI. However, limited time and facilities would make it nearly impossible (for me) - and - depending on what you mean by "limited facilities" - could actually make it unproductive and dangerous.

My thoughts would be to run TWO really good 15 mo bulls and sell them both as 2 year olds. The higher value of 2 year olds may very well allow you to have kept the younger two bulls for free, allow you to change bulls every year, and stay genetically diversified.
 

Frankie

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moloss":1l1culmz said:
now I have a bull that I really like and will have him for another couple of years but after that time I was thinking about AI and what it would really cost me.....I have about 20 momma cows (I'm small time) and don't know if it makes since for me to have a bull or just AI.....now the bull is half your heard so I don't mind paying for a good bull but between getting the shots to get them cycling at the same time and the actual use of the semen..... what am I looking at (knowing you will pay for good semen not to mention my time)......with my current bull I bought him at a great price 1/5 of what the original owners paid for him (cuz he's eight )and will get to use his great genetics for a few years and will probably be able to sell him for more than what I bought him for....what do y'all think? and sorry I kinda all over the place with this.....thanks Chris

IMO, your best option would be to find someone experienced who will come do the AI for you. You could synch the cows, get the AI tech to bring his tank and breed them at a set time, then turn them out with a bull two weeks later. I have a good AI tech, but we never get everything bred the first time around. We have the time to be out heat detecting and breeding at the optimum time. You may not have that much time, but you might be able to AI them and get some AI-sired calves and not ruin your breeding season by having open cows.
 

novaman

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Frankie":ss64k3y8 said:
moloss":ss64k3y8 said:
now I have a bull that I really like and will have him for another couple of years but after that time I was thinking about AI and what it would really cost me.....I have about 20 momma cows (I'm small time) and don't know if it makes since for me to have a bull or just AI.....now the bull is half your heard so I don't mind paying for a good bull but between getting the shots to get them cycling at the same time and the actual use of the semen..... what am I looking at (knowing you will pay for good semen not to mention my time)......with my current bull I bought him at a great price 1/5 of what the original owners paid for him (cuz he's eight )and will get to use his great genetics for a few years and will probably be able to sell him for more than what I bought him for....what do y'all think? and sorry I kinda all over the place with this.....thanks Chris

IMO, your best option would be to find someone experienced who will come do the AI for you. You could synch the cows, get the AI tech to bring his tank and breed them at a set time, then turn them out with a bull two weeks later. I have a good AI tech, but we never get everything bred the first time around. We have the time to be out heat detecting and breeding at the optimum time. You may not have that much time, but you might be able to AI them and get some AI-sired calves and not ruin your breeding season by having open cows.
I agree with Frankie. I would use AI on the first service and then let the bull in for the second round.

As far as cost, the semen tank would be one of the biggest inital costs. Everything else depends on what you want to do and the semen you use. I have never figured what it costs me but once you have the tank the biggest expense is the semen. Everything else like sheaths, gloves, lube etc is all very cheap.
 

angus9259

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novaman":2qzvwze4 said:
I agree with Frankie. I would use AI on the first service and then let the bull in for the second round.

As far as cost, the semen tank would be one of the biggest inital costs. Everything else depends on what you want to do and the semen you use. I have never figured what it costs me but once you have the tank the biggest expense is the semen. Everything else like sheaths, gloves, lube etc is all very cheap.

Unless you don't have a handling system . . . then the ai tech might turn you down anyway.
 

makemfat

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I'm small time, too. I have a real job. I don't have time and don't live where my cows are. Therefore, after considering all that, I just use a bull. Everyone may consider this dumb, but it works for me. I have Santa Gertrudis cows, and every year, I go to the sale and get a nice looking angus bull. I keep him for 3 - 4 months, and take him back to the sale when I'm done with him. I usually get within a little bit of what I paid for him. I don't have to worry about him fighting with the neighbors bulls, or breaking down the fence, or even feeding him all year.....because he's gone! Then, I can keep heifers every year. Yep, I know, it ain't normal.
 

TexasBred

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makemfat":26r4lxff said:
I'm small time, too. I have a real job. I don't have time and don't live where my cows are. Therefore, after considering all that, I just use a bull. Everyone may consider this dumb, but it works for me. I have Santa Gertrudis cows, and every year, I go to the sale and get a nice looking angus bull. I keep him for 3 - 4 months, and take him back to the sale when I'm done with him. I usually get within a little bit of what I paid for him. I don't have to worry about him fighting with the neighbors bulls, or breaking down the fence, or even feeding him all year.....because he's gone! Then, I can keep heifers every year. Yep, I know, it ain't normal.

It's really not all that uncommon and makes perfect sense for a lot of small operations. Best of luck to you. ;-)
 

novaman

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angus9259":3v8salac said:
novaman":3v8salac said:
I agree with Frankie. I would use AI on the first service and then let the bull in for the second round.

As far as cost, the semen tank would be one of the biggest inital costs. Everything else depends on what you want to do and the semen you use. I have never figured what it costs me but once you have the tank the biggest expense is the semen. Everything else like sheaths, gloves, lube etc is all very cheap.

Unless you don't have a handling system . . . then the ai tech might turn you down anyway.
I guess I am assuming that most have a system capable of at least containing the cow enough to breed her. I know, I know assuming is not a good thing. A good system should be in place because it can be used for far more than just AIing. I agree it can be a big expense but it is a one time deal and the cost shouldn't be dealt to the AI expense department completely as it has other uses.
makemfat":3v8salac said:
I'm small time, too. I have a real job. I don't have time and don't live where my cows are. Therefore, after considering all that, I just use a bull. Everyone may consider this dumb, but it works for me. I have Santa Gertrudis cows, and every year, I go to the sale and get a nice looking angus bull. I keep him for 3 - 4 months, and take him back to the sale when I'm done with him. I usually get within a little bit of what I paid for him. I don't have to worry about him fighting with the neighbors bulls, or breaking down the fence, or even feeding him all year.....because he's gone! Then, I can keep heifers every year. Yep, I know, it ain't normal.
There is nothing wrong with your system. Don't get me wrong, running a bull is much less time consuming. I just want the best genetics I can get my hands on and natural service won't get me where I want to be. If you are content with your genetics I would definately run a very good bull with them. By buying and selling you are avoiding what I think is the biggest expense that most people overlook when running a bull. Bulls take a lot of feed to get through the offseason.
 
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