Reproduction is critical for the success of both dairy and beef cattle production. Inadequate reproduction impairs profitability by compromising production, delaying genetic progress and increasing expenses. A major impediment to the use of artificial insemination (AI) is the ability to detect oestrus for optimum timing of breeding. However, increased understanding of the bovine oestrous cycle has led to the development of reproductive programmes that allow precise synchrony of follicle development, luteal regression and ovulation. The advent of timed-AI protocols revolutionised reproductive management in dairy and beef herds. It allows for AI at a more desired time post partum despite oestrous cyclicity. It also allows for pre-determined re-insemination of cows diagnosed as not pregnant. In subfertile cows, such as the post partum, anoestrous beef cow and the high-producing dairy cow, strategic hormone supplementation has been used to overcome hormone deficiencies and improve pregnancy rates. Several physiological windows have been identified to optimise fertility in synchronisation programmes and they include, but are not limited to, follicle turnover, synchrony of follicular development, length of dominance, progesterone concentrations during development of the ovulatory follicle, luteal regression, peri-ovulatory steroid concentrations, length of pro-oestrus, synchrony of ovulation and AI, and progesterone rise after ovulation.