Comparison of reproductive performance in lactating dairy cows bred by natural service or timed artificial insemination

F. S. Lima, C. A. Risco, M. J. Thatcher, M. E. Benzaquen, L. F. Archbald, J. E.P. Santos, W. W. Thatcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The objective of this study was to compare reproductive performance of lactating dairy cows bred by natural service (NS) or timed AI (TAI). One thousand fifty-five cows were blocked by parity and enrolled to receive either NS or TAI. Cows in both groups were presynchronized with 2 injections of PGF given at 42 and 56 d postpartum. Fourteen days after the last PGF injection, cows in the TAI group were enrolled in an Ovsynch protocol (d 0 GnRH; 7 d later, PGF 56 h after PGF injection, second dose of GnRH; and 16 h after second GnRH cows were TAI). Cows in the TAI group were resynchronized with an intravaginal insert containing progesterone inserted 18 d after TAI and removed 7 d later when GnRH was given. Cows were examined by ultrasonography on d 32 after TAI; nonpregnant cows received PGF and GnRH 56 h later followed by TAI 16 h after the GnRH injection. Non-pregnant cows in TAI group were reinseminated up to 5 times using the same scheme. Cows in the NS group were exposed to bulls 14 d after the second PGF injection, and ultrasonography was performed 42 d after exposure to bulls to determine pregnancy status. Nonpregnant cows in the NS group were reexamined by transrectal palpation combined with ultrasound every 28 d until diagnosed pregnant or 223 d postpartum, whichever occurred first. Cows diagnosed pregnant in TAI or NS were reconfirmed 28 d later to determine pregnancy loss. All bulls underwent an evaluation of breeding soundness and were rested for 14 d after 14 d of cow exposure. Health disorders were evaluated up to 70 d postpartum, and body condition score was evaluated at d 70 postpartum. Blood was collected on d 56 and 65 postpartum and analyzed for progesterone to determine cyclicity. The proportion of pregnant cows in the first 21 d of breeding did not differ between groups. The overall 21-d cycle pregnancy rate (PR), which included a total of 8 and 5 service opportunities for NS and TAI, respectively, was not different between groups (25.7 and 25.0% for NS and TAI, respectively). The daily rate of pregnancy was 15% greater for NS than TAI because cows in NS had a greater PR, which resulted in fewer median days open (111 vs. 116 d). Proportion of pregnant cows at 223 d postpartum was greater in the NS than TAI group (84.2 vs. 74.8%, respectively). Cyclicity did not affect reproductive performance. Cows with body condition score ≥2.75 had greater proportion of pregnant cows in the first 21 d of breeding and daily PR in the first 223 d postpartum Primiparous cows had greater proportion of pregnant cows and daily PR than multiparous cows at 223 d postpartum. In conclusion, the greater proportion of pregnant cows in the NS group was attributed to more opportunities for breeding than in the TAI group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5456-5466
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume92
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2009

Keywords

  • Dairy cow
  • Natural service
  • Reproductive performance
  • Timed artificial insemination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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