Out-of-season Breeding and Synchronization of Estrus
with Dr. Keith Inskeep
Producers can increase their production efficiency with the use of improved technologies so that they are better poised to take advantage of the improved consumer demand for lamb products. Higher prices for off-season lambs are a reason to synchronize estrus (particularly for out-of-season breeding). When estrus is synchronized, a similar percentage of ewes conceive and lamb as with natural, random mating. However, lambing occurs in shorter and more concentrated lambing periods, thereby reducing the labor requirements at lambing. Among hormonal approaches to synchronizing estrus in ewes, intravaginal delivery devices for progestogens are easiest to use. The controlled internal drug releasing device (CIDR-G containing progesterone) was approved by the Food & Drug Administration in 2009. Treatment with a CIDR device for 5 days before ram introduction can be used to induce out-of-season breeding. This regimen can allow producers to target lamb markets when prices are highest and could help to ensure a consistent supply of lamb.
About the instructor: From a childhood spent on his family’s farm to his work as a West Virginia University professor of reproductive physiology, Dr.Keith Inskeep has spent a lifetime concerned with the well-being and profitability of sheep. Dr. Inskeep was recently named editor of the Sheep and Goat Research Journal, published online by the American Sheep Industry Association. He has amassed considerable experience in communicating science to producers in his over 48 years on the faculty of WVU’s Davis College of Agriculture. He is also one of the founding scholars behind the creation of the West Virginia Small Ruminant Project in 1998. The project helps farmers to increase the economic efficiency and overall profitability of their small ruminant enterprises through improved production practices and through the introduction of new technologies to help revitalize this industry. Beginning in 1998, Dr. Inskeep led a 10-year applied research effort to adapt and obtain approval for the use of CIDR devices to facilitate out-of-season breeding in sheep.