The postweaning rise of tonic luteinizing hormone secretion in anestrous cows is not prevented by chronic milking or the physical presence of the calf.
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The objective of the following study was to examine the ability of frequent milking, the physical presence of the calf, and their combination to prevent a postweaning rise in tonic luteinizing hormone (LH) secretion, estrus, and ovulation. Thirty Hereford cows were allowed to suckle their calves ad libitum until 17-21 days post partum and confirmed as anestrus. They were then assigned alternately by order of calving to 1 of 5 treatment groups: (1) Suckled (S) ad libitum; (2) Nonsuckled (NS)--calf removed for 102 h; (3) Nonsuckled--calf present (NSC)--calf remained with cow, but muzzled to prevent suckling for 102 h; (4) Nonsuckled--milked 8 times a day (NSM)--calf removed for 102 h and cow hand-milked for 10 min every 2 h from 0700 to 2100 h; (5) Nonsuckled--calf present--milked 8 times a day (NSMC)--combination of 3 and 4. Luteinizing hormone secretion patterns, estrous activity, and ovulation were monitored throughout the experiment. Prior to treatment (Day 0), mean pulse frequency (pulses/6 h), mean concentrations (ng/ml), and median concentrations (ng/ml) of LH did not differ (p greater than 0.45) between groups, and were 0.7 +/- 0.15, 2.8 +/- 0.14, and 2.6 +/- 0.11, respectively. Marked rises (p less than 0.01--p less than 0.03) in LH pulse frequency were observed in all groups except S between 48 and 54 h after onset of treatment. Mean and median concentrations of LH were lower (p less than 0.02) in S cows than in all other groups at 48-54 h.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)