Single dose of ESTRUMATE® shrinks calving window

After hearing a presentation at his local veterinary clinic by Dr. Todd Bilby, cattle technical services for Merck Animal Health, Schmerbach committed to incorporating ESTRUMATE® (cloprostenol injection) in their reproductive program.

An engineer by day, Logan Schmerbach knows the importance of using metrics to measure effectiveness and performance. He applies this same drive for improvement to his cow-calf herd that he owns with his father as part of their farming operation near La Motte, Iowa. A third-generation cattle producer, Schmerbach credits his dad for growing and improving their herd.

“I’m a firm believer that the most expensive words said on a farm are ‘that’s how we’ve always done it,’” he says.

Using a single dose of ESTRUMATE® to shrink calving window

“Dr. Bilby spoke about how a single dose could give us an opportunity to get cows bred earlier and tighten our calving window. Heavier, more consistent calves are more marketable, which equals more money.”

ESTRUMATE is a leading prostaglandin that allows producers to manage heat detection, breeding and calving intervals, whether using bull breeding or artificial insemination.

Thomas Lapke, D.V.M., of Rolling Hills Veterinary Service with offices in La Motte and Cascade, Iowa, is Schmerbach’s veterinarian. Dr. Lapke says only a small number of his clients who use natural service incorporate an estrus synchronization program.

“The biggest pushback is labor and facilities,” says Lapke. “However, one trip through the chute can result in calves being born three to four weeks earlier, which can easily mean a 30- to 40-pound-heavier calf by fall and a more consistent calf crop.”

Lapke often starts the conversation about synchronization in the fall when evaluating the calf crop. “If calves are light weight, we need to know why. If a calf is born in April but is only 300 pounds come October, we need to cull the cow. But, if the light weight of the calf is due to being born late, we can move up and tighten the calving window through synchronization.”

90% of cows in 55-day calving window

Schmerbach turned out five bulls with their 99 cows. On day five after turnout, he and his dad ran the cows through the chute and gave them 2 mL of ESTRUMATE..

“With one night’s worth of time and $300 of product and supplies invested, we tightened up our calving window significantly,” says Schmerbach.

Schmerbach says he was blown away when their ultrasound technician came in September.

“Of the 99 cows, 41 are bred within an 11-day period. All but nine cows are in a 55-day window, and even those that are not in the 55-day window still fit in an 80-day window,” explains Schmerbach.

Well worth the time

A lot of factors go into determining reproductive success. Lapke stresses the importance of timely breeding soundness examinations, vaccination and deworming programs, and paying attention to body conditions scores and nutrition.

Schmerbach believes the single dose of ESTRUMATE had a significant impact.

“We gave one simple shot and realized a 50-percent jump in efficiency when it comes to breeding our cows,” says Schmerbach.

“I am extremely impressed and will continue to use ESTRUMATE. It was well worth our time to run them through the chute again.”


Women of childbearing age, asthmatics, and persons with respiratory problems should exercise extreme caution when handling ESTRUMATE. ESTRUMATE is readily absorbed through the skin and may cause abortion and/or bronchospasms; direct contact with the skin should be avoided and accidental spillage on the skin should be washed off immediately with soap and water. Do not administer ESTRUMATE to a pregnant cow if abortion is not desired. Severe localized post-injection clostridial infections have been reported; in rare instances infection has led to death. At 50 and 100 times the recommended dose, mild side effects may be detected. For complete information on ESTRUMATE, see package insert.

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