Artificial insemination technicians in central Queensland and the North Burnett have reported a decrease in the amount of clients seeking out the service.
Most of the technicians reported that people could be holding off until rain in the hope it could bring more feed and therefore lift the nutritional profile of their breeders.
Queensland Country Life spoke to five technicians who each gave insights into AI trends they had been experiencing.
Although Matthew Richardson has been focusing more on his branding business Concrete Cowboy, he said AI work had definitely slowed down.
He thought it was due to a combination of the dry and the current cattle market.
"AI is not the cheapest procedure and is labour intensive, so I guess when cattle aren't worth much and it's a drier outlook, people could be more worried about other things."
He said people could be opting to use the bulls in paddock, purchased at a reduced rate at the sales this year.
He thought where people may have spent $10,000 on semen straws from a quality bull last year, this year they could go ahead and purchase the bull.
He also thought since the price of females was also back, people may be more reluctant to spend as much on AI programs.
"A couple of weeks ago heifers weren't worth a lot, so it might not make sense putting drugs and semen costs into a heifer that's more than she's worth.
"Some people might be worried about whether they'll get their heifers to conception weight."
Some of his perspective came from the fact his branding business had also slowed down and thought if was a reflection of the livestock industry tightening up in general.
"In the last three months the cattle branding business has slowed down even though I have a bigger range of products than last year.
"Earlier in the year I was busier than now and that wasn't even peak branding season."
He thought November could still be a little early for some people to brand, as usually December, January and February were prime season for branding in CQ, but expected people would usually be getting ready.
Lez Kingston said he had noticed people choosing to postpone their AI programs in the hope of rain.
He also thought more people could be opting to put bulls out due to the fact there has been less feed around.
Mr Kingston works with both stud and commercial producers, but gets more stud clients.
"Generally when things do get a bit drier, the commercial guys will just run with the bulls."
"Stud producers will tend to do AI even when it is dry, they're just waiting for rain."
Funnily enough, varied rainfall around central Queensland had meant some clients of various breeds were opting to postpone because there was too wet at the moment.
"Too much rain will affect conception rates," he said.
"The cattle are used to the weather being dry so when the rain comes it can upset them as it's out of their routine."
He thought if the rain stayed around clients would likely reschedule their females to be done just before Christmas, leaving a bull to mop up after.
"It is much drier than this last year but if we do get rain before Christmas then it will probably balance itself out again."
His colleagues down in south east Queensland had a different experience.
He said those parts were not as dry at CQ and still had a fair bit of feed around, all while getting more rain at the moment.
Additionally, colleagues working in Roma were often working with Wagyu, a breed he said tended to have a very high success rate with AI.
He said it was down to the make up of the animal and where their genetics originated from.
He said similarly in CQ, the clients who would opt to continue their AI programs were likely Wagyu breeders.
"They'll tend to do it regardless of weather because they'll get good results even when it's dry.
"It's more Bos Indicus cattle, those guys will hold off and wait to see if they get good weather to do it."
Remy Streeter thought the slowing down of AI was likely due to the drier weather and people wanting to ensure their cattle were nutritionally up to standards before investing into an AI program.
She works with mostly stud producers, but also works with commercial Wagyu producers.
"If it's dry and they haven't had enough to eat, there is a chance that some of them won't even cycle or be able to keep the pregnancy."
She said it was a huge investment both in time and money to carry out an AI program and people likely weren't willing to take the gamble.
Ms Streeter thought there was ways producers could get around these challenges if they wanted to.
"Even in the dry rates you can get good rates if your cattle are kept nutritionally well.
"It's more about having a body of feed tucked away that you can put those cattle on."
She did not think that the decrease or delay in people seeking out AI services would have an impact on the quality of genetics over the next few years, but said drier times tended to see poor outcomes for calves.
"In the tougher years you have a tendency to loose good cattle, you can loose your bull calves."
She was confident that seeing more rain around would lead to more AI programs.
Something she had also noticed was that slight shifts in the seasons had meant her AI season earlier this year had been prolonged.
"I was doing AI in April this year, but it usually fizzles out after February to March."
Stacey Rae said her practice had seen a reduction in the number of commercial AI programs in the North Burnett region this year, more so in lactating cows rather than heifers.
She believe it was a combination of the current economic environment, high interest rates, low cattle prices and very dry season.
She was hopeful that the rain this week would help bring more confidence.
She said body condition scoring had a direct affect on fertility and with a season that was well below annual rainfall, many breeders in the region had fallen to a lower than desirable condition.
"This in turn increases the length of time to return to oestrous and can also affect oocyte quality, potentially reducing the success of FTAI programs," she said.
She said many of their clients would be implementing early weaning this season.
"Our seed stock producers are still running a number of programs including ET and IVF but they are producing high value animals for a longer term goal."
Greg and Shelley Fawcett had a different perspective.
They said their work had still been fairly constant, and with the rain around the place they were receiving more calls from people wanting to line up AI programs.
Although they were from central Queensland, they had been spending a lot of time on the road and had been delivering AI programs to other parts of the state.
Ms Fawcett said in the next two weeks they would be back to doing seven days per week of work, and had jobs all the way between Roma and Cloncurry.
She said their clients were "always looking ahead" in terms of their breeding programs, with many choosing to put out supplementary feed rather than moving away from their timelines.
"Even in the drought, what we're doing today won't be relevant for three years."
Ms Fawcett acknowledged that lick and supplementary feed were under stress at the moment, which hay have affected some people's decision to run AI programs.
Like Ms Streeter, they said even during their slower season this year they were still getting jobs in, which was unusual, but likely due to the good weather and body of feed still around at that time.
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