Journal of animal science

Progesterone status, parity, body condition, and days postpartum before estrus or ovulation synchronization in suckled beef cattle influence artificial insemination pregnancy outcomes.

PMID 26020307


Our objective was to assess the effects of progesterone before initiating an estrus- or ovulation-synchronization program in addition to the influence of parity, BCS, and days postpartum on resulting pregnancy rates per AI. Experimental data were combined from 73 herd-year studies consisting of more than 8,500 suckled beef cows exposed to variants of the CO-Synch program. Blood was harvested from samples collected at 10 and 0 d before the onset of CO-Synch, and progesterone concentrations of the samples were determined. The progesterone environment preceding synchronization was assessed in 3 ways on the basis of progesterone concentrations measured in the 2 defined blood samples. All binomial logistic regression models used procedure GLIMMIX in SAS and included the fixed effects of program duration, inclusion of progesterone via an intravaginal insert, parity, days postpartum at AI, BCS, and appropriate interactions. In addition, model 1 included 3 categories of progesterone concentrations (low [<1 ng/mL], medium [1.00 to 3.99 ng/mL], and high [≥4.00 ng/mL] concentrations) at 10 and 0 d before synchronization and their interaction. Model 2 included 4 categories defining the stage of the estrous cycle (late diestrus, early diestrus, and proestrus-estrus-metestrus) or anestrus, at which cows started the synchronization program. Model 3 defined cows as cycling or noncycling at the onset of the program. Significant effects of progesterone supplementation, which hormone was used to initiate the timed AI program, parity, BCS, days postpartum, and progesterone status assessed in 3 ways were consistent in nearly all models. Progesterone status at the onset of synchronization was not important to pregnancy outcomes in multiparous cows, whereas pregnancy rate per AI was suppressed in primiparous cows that began in a low-progesterone environment (proestrus, estrus, metestrus, or anestrus). A significant 3-way interaction of parity, BCS, and days postpartum in 2 models reinforced the importance of these factors to AI pregnancy outcomes. Ancillary analyses identified the significant effects of cycling status and BCS as well as days postpartum on luteolytic response to PGF(2α). Pregnancy loss of 2.7% to 4.2% was detected to occur between a positive pregnancy diagnosis at 35 d post-AI and later stages of pregnancy. We concluded that progesterone status at the onset of the synchronization program is critical to pregnancy outcomes in primiparous but not multiparous cows.