EKY IRM Update Summer 2016


   The Eastern Kentucky IRM program has been implemented in herds all across Eastern Kentucky for just over a year now. The objective of the program is to stimulate long term behavioral changes in management practices designed to increase reproductive performance. The program is comprised of two parts for educating producers; classroom instruction is combined with on-farm, hands-on demonstrations. Producers involved are divided into three main categories. Those that the cows are exposed to the bull 365 days and moving to one or two controlled calving seasons, those with extended calving seasons and wanting to shorten them, and those with a controlled calving season and looking to investigate implanting AI. For each producer involved in the program, a comprehensive personalized farm plan is developed by UK specialists. The plans are then implemented at each farm through the hands-on demonstrations by the program coordinators.
   During the first year, 82 producers were enrolled in the program. These producers represented 37 different counties with a total of 1,798 cows. There were 36 producers moving from cows exposed to a bull year round to a controlled season, 21 producers moving from an extended to a controlled calving season, 19 producers with a controlled season and wanting to increase their reproduction efficiency, and 6 producers who implemented artificial insemination on only their heifers. Synchronization protocols for natural service and artificial insemination were both used during the spring and fall breeding seasons. The average conception rate in these herds increased 6% from 83% to 89%. We estimate that the average calf age will be increased by 76 days and calves should weigh approximately 150 more pounds at weaning. When taking into account the increased conception rate and additional revenue from calves that are older and heavier, assuming a 600 lb sale weight and a price of $169.515/cwt the estimated total economic impact of the program is $522,158.41. This equates to an average of $6,367.79 per producer.
   The EKY IRM program has received lots of positive feedback from both producers and agents alike. Almost all of the producers that participated last year, continued with the project this year as well. So far this spring, there has been close to 35 additional producers enrolled in the program from three additional counties. With the spring breeding season coming close to an end, we are currently working on a more detailed analysis of the impact that has been made to the producers involved in Eastern Kentucky. ∆
   BEN CRITES: IRM Coordinator, University of Kentucky
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