Reproduction protocols helpful for breeding heifers

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Last week, Dairy Calf and Heifer Association's (DCHA) monthly Webinar featured Ray Nebel, reproductive specialist with Select Sires, who spoke on the economic impact of the reproduction management of heifers.

During the Webinar, Nebel indicated that reproductive management is about people and protocols, and usually not about the heifers. One of the topics he spoke about was the synchronization using prostaglandin. Research has shown that injections of prostaglandin can help increase the estrus detection rate, which in turn can lead to higher pregnancy rates.  

After the first injection of prostaglandin, estrus detection rates were at 53 percent, with a conception rate of 65 percent. After a second injection of prostaglandin, estrus detection rates jumped to 73 percent. However, conception rates remained similar at 61 percent (Fogwell, et al). Another study showed that use of prostaglandin, compared to CIDR, OVY and control heifers, provided the highest conception rate and the highest pregnancy rate, while providing the lowest cost per pregnancy (Stevenson, 2006). Nebel indicated that conception rates are typically around 65 percent with detected estrus, compared to approximately 53 percent following timed artificial insemination.
Source: Dairy Calf and Heifer Association

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