Omega 3 Fatty Acids in Ranching

Breeding season is fast approaching, and for cow-calf producers, it stands out as a crucial period in their operations. While calving time is often considered significant, the essence lies in successful breeding. In this article, we’ll delve into the pivotal advantages of incorporating omega 3 fatty acids into your ranching practices and explore how it can positively influence embryo viability and overall reproductive success.

The Impact of Omega 3 Fatty Acids on Reproductive Health

Cows and Healthy Calfs after implementing Omega Fatty Acids.

1. Understanding Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids

Most of the feedstuffs commonly used in ranching are high in omega 6 fatty acids. Unfortunately, these omega 6s contribute to inflammation, directly affecting the attachment of fertilized eggs to the uterine wall. Additionally, they play a critical role in the production of prostaglandin, which, when elevated, can lead to abortions. On the other hand, omega 3 fatty acids act as anti-inflammatories, reducing inflammation and aiding in the production of estrogen while decreasing prostaglandin levels.

2. Impact on Embryo Viability

Research, including data from Colorado State University (CSU), suggests that 40% of open cows and heifers were initially bred but, due to unknown stress, experienced pregnancy loss within the first 42 days. Feeding omega 3 fatty acids helps suppress prostaglandin production, positively impacting embryo viability and maintenance. In dairy cattle, studies have shown a remarkable 15% increase in overall conception rates.

3. Practical Recommendations for Omega 3 Supplementation

Investing in replacement heifers is substantial, and returns are not realized until the animal is at least two and a half years old. To ensure the optimal reproductive health of your herd, consider feeding omega mineral at least 30 days before artificial insemination (AI) or turning out the bulls until 45 days post-breeding. For bulls, a minimum of 60 days of omega mineral supplementation is recommended to positively impact sperm production, enhancing both motility and volume on semen tests.

The Importance of Early Pregnancy Days

1. Critical Period of the First 42 Days

Extensive research indicates that the first 42 days of pregnancy are the most critical, influencing embryo attachment and maintenance. Feeding omega 3s during this period reduces inflammation of the reproductive tract and promotes the elongation of the initial attachment of the embryo, significantly improving embryo viability.

2. Positive Outcomes and Adoption

Producers incorporating the omega 3 program on their heifers have reported reduced third-cycle pregnancies and open cows. This approach not only benefits purebred operations focused on genetics but also proves that, in calf sales at weaning or as 8 weights, age often outperforms genetics.


As the breeding season approaches, consider the impact of omega 3 fatty acids on your ranching operation. For more information or to implement CPM’s omega 3 mineral in your feeding program, reach out to your CPM Nutrition Advisor today.

Bob Myers

Livestock Consultant