Using estrus detection patches to optimally time insemination improved pregnancy risk in suckled beef cows enrolled in a fixed-time artificial insemination program.
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A multilocation study examined pregnancy risk (PR) after delaying AI in suckled beef cows from 60 to 75 h when estrus had not been detected by 60 h in response to a 7-d CO-Synch + progesterone insert (CIDR) timed AI (TAI) program (d -7: CIDR insert concurrent with an injection of GnRH; d 0: PGF injection and removal of CIDR insert; and GnRH injection at TAI [60 or 75 h after CIDR removal]). A total of 1,611 suckled beef cows at 15 locations in 9 states (CO, IL, KS, MN, MS, MT, ND, SD, and VA) were enrolled. Before applying the fixed-time AI program, BCS was assessed, and blood samples were collected. Estrus was defined to have occurred when an estrus detection patch was >50% colored (activated). Pregnancy was determined 35 d after AI via transrectal ultrasound. Cows ( = 746) detected in estrus by 60 h (46.3%) after CIDR removal were inseminated and treated with GnRH at AI (Control). Remaining nonestrous cows were allocated within location to 3 treatments on the basis of parity and days postpartum: 1) GnRH injection and AI at 60 h (early-early = EE; = 292), 2) GnRH injection at 60 h and AI at 75 h (early-delayed = ED; = 282), or 3) GnRH injection and AI at 75 h (delayed-delayed = DD; = 291). Control cows had a greater ( < 0.01) PR (64.2%) than other treatments (EE = 41.7%, ED = 52.8%, DD = 50.0%). Use of estrus detection patches to delay AI in cows not in estrus by 60 h after CIDR insert removal (ED and DD treatments) increased ( < 0.05) PR to TAI when compared with cows in the EE treatment. More ( < 0.001) cows that showed estrus by 60 h conceived to AI at 60 h than those not showing estrus (64.2% vs. 48.1%). Approximately half (49.2%) of the cows not in estrus by 60 h had activated patches by 75 h, resulting in a greater ( < 0.05) PR than their nonestrous herd mates in the EE (46.1% vs. 34.5%), ED (64.2% vs. 39.2%), and DD (64.8% vs. 31.5%) treatments, respectively. Overall, cows showing estrus by 75 h (72.7%) had greater ( < 0.001) PR to AI (61.3% vs. 37.9%) than cows not showing estrus. Use of estrus detection patches to allow for a delayed AI in cows not in estrus by 60 h after removal of the CIDR insert improved PR to TAI by optimizing the timing of the AI in those cows.