Artificial breeding in beef cattle

Page last updated: Monday, 23 October 2017 - 11:27am

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Artificial breeding is the use of technologies such as artificial insemination and embryo transfer. Artificial insemination (AI) involves placing semen directly into the uterus. Embryo transfer involves transferring fertilised ova from a donor female to a recipient female who then rears the calf.

Artificial insemination is used in both stud and commercial herds, whilst embryo transfer tends to be used mainly when breeding stud stock. The use of injected hormones is necessary in embryo transfer programs and are often used in AI programs to synchronise oestrous cycles.

Why use artificial insemination

A cattle breeder may choose to utilise artificial insemination (AI) in their herds for several reasons including:

  • genetic improvement
  • access to genetics from across the world
  • access to genetics from bulls that they would not otherwise be able to afford to purchase
  • to reduce the number of bulls required
  • access to breeds that are not available locally
  • to join a bull with more females than he would be able to serve naturally in one mating season
  • to mate individual cows to specific sires
  • potential increased value of progeny from AI sires
  • to reduce the risk of infection from venereal diseases​


Contact information

Rebecca Butcher
+61 (0)8 9651 0540