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SDSU Extension Hosts Cattle AI Day Camp at Cottonwood Field Station

BROOKINGS, S.D. – Twenty 4-H youth involved in the beef project area traveled to the Cottonwood Field Station to participate in the South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension Cattle AI Day Camp held Nov. 6.

During the day camp, SDSU Extension Cow/Calf Field Specialists Olivia Amundson, Kiernan Brandt and Adele Harty, along with 4-H Youth Program Advisors Audra Scheel and Kaycee Jones, guided youth through the process of artificial insemination (AI) in beef cattle.

Twenty 4-H youth involved in the beef project area traveled to the Cottonwood Field Station, to participate in the South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension Cattle AI Day Camp held Nov. 6, 2021. Courtesy: SDSU Extension
Courtesy photo

“Understanding how the female and male beef reproductive tracts work is critical to a successful AI program,” says Scheel, who serves as a 4-H Youth Program Advisor for Sanborn, Aurora, Jerauld and Buffalo counties.



Kiernan Brandt, SDSU Extension Cow/ Calf Specialist, instructs 4-H member, Molly Harty, on finding the reproductive tract during palpitation.

Kiernan Brandt, SDSU Extension Cow/ Calf Specialist, instructs 4-H member, Molly Harty, on finding the reproductive tract during palpitation. Courtesy: SDSU Extension



“I learned the different stages of follicular development and the hormones that happen,” says attendee Autumn Skow.

Once they learned the basics, youth received hands-on practice in pulling, thawing and loading semen. Harty and Scheel led this station.

“This is a critical part of AI; you can have the best technician in the world inside the cow, but if the semen isn’t handled correctly outside the cow, your conception rates will show it,” Harty says.

Youth were also able to work with real, female beef cow reproductive tracts, led by Brandt. Hands-on experience with ultrasound, vaccinations and palpation, along with education on the importance of nutrition and using body condition score to determine the cow’s nutritional needs, completed the breakout sessions.

–SDSU Extension

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