Pregnancy loss in beef cattle: A meta-analysis. Academic Article uri icon


  • Pregnancy loss in beef cattle causes both management and economic challenges to a producer. A meta-analysis was conducted to quantify reproductive failures that occur during fertilization, early embryonic development, and late embryonic/early fetal development periods of gestation in beef cattle. The meta-analysis included more than 56,000 diagnostic records in 159 studies from 48 papers with 12 studies included in fertilization and pre- blastocyst loss analysis (FERT; days 1-7 of gestation), 107 in early embryo (EEM; days 7-32), and 40 in late embryo/early fetal period (LEF; days 32-100) analysis. Although fertilization rates are reportedly high in beef cattle, significant developmental failure occurs within the first 7 days of gestation. Approximately 28.4 % of embryos will not develop past day 7 of gestation with most embryonic losses occurring before day 4. By the conclusion of the first month of gestation, 47.9 % of cows submitted to a single insemination at day 0 will not be pregnant. Overall, LEF between days 32-60 and 100 was 5.8 %. Bos indicus animals had greater (P= 0.001) EEM compared to Bos taurus, but there was no difference (P= 0.39) for the LEF period between subspecies. Primiparous cows had greater EEM (P= 0.002) compared to nulliparous heifers and multiparous cows; and nulliparous heifers had a greater LEF compared to primiparous and multiparous cows (P= 0.048). Collectively, these cumulative findings provide a baseline assessment of pregnancy loss specific to beef cattle.

published proceedings

  • Anim Reprod Sci

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Reese, S. T., Franco, G. A., Poole, R. K., Hood, R., Fernadez Montero, L., Oliveira Filho, R. V., Cooke, R. F., & Pohler, K. G.

citation count

  • 57

complete list of authors

  • Reese, ST||Franco, GA||Poole, RK||Hood, R||Fernadez Montero, L||Oliveira Filho, RV||Cooke, RF||Pohler, KG

publication date

  • January 2020