Nov. 8 2012 12:47 AM

7th annual event in California has largest-ever turnout.

The 7th annual Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council annual meeting is underway in Sacramento, Calif. Over 250 attendees have registered from as far away as Brazil, the most in the event's history.

This year's gathering of university and industry researchers, veterinarians, artificial insemination companies and milk producers have come together November 8 and 9 to discuss the latest research and trends in dairy cattle heat detection and reproduction.

Nineteen presentations will be made over the two days, covering topics ranging from the research lab to the field. An extended workshop session will be held addressing the complex topic of dairy industry strategies for communicating with consumers about herd management and reproduction practices used on farms, and an extensive poster session on the latest reproduction-related research projects is also on display.

The continued decline of dairy farm numbers, university extension programs, and consolidation within the A.I. industry continues to be a challenge for the organization, but DCRC President Tom Bailey said its board of directors met this summer to develop a business plan that addresses both the challenges and opportunities that exist.

Change has been easy to see in the organization's first few years, when meeting presentations were dominated by clinical trial results on synchronized heat programs. Lately, however, presentations have diversified to include less academic topics that see wider current use on farms. A talk on bull management, for instance, is on this year's program.

High on its list of objectives is expanding membership internationally and attracting more milk producers into the organization. Another is to make DCRC the go-to global resource for research results and management suggestions for anything related to heat detection and reproduction in dairy cattle. As Bailey summed up, "DCRC has the ability to own the discussion as the epicenter where reproduction culminates."