Ability of intravaginal progesterone inserts and melengestrol acetate to induce estrous cycles in postpartum beef cows.
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Postpartum anestrous interval in beef cows is a major factor contributing to reproductive failure during a defined breeding season. Our objectives were to determine the ability of a controlled internal drug-releasing device (CIDR, 1.9 g of progesterone), a normal dose of melengestrol acetate (MGA, 0.5 mg x cow(-1) x d(-1)), or a high dose of MGA (4.0 mg x cow(-1) x d(-1)) to induce ovulation and to eliminate short estrous cycles. Multiparous beef cows (n = 100) were equally assigned to one of four treatments: CIDR, normal MGA, high MGA, or control by age, days postpartum, body condition, and body weight. All cows were fed carrier (0.9072 kg x cow(-1) x d(-1)) with (normal MGA, 0.55 mg/kg; high MGA, 4.41 mg/kg) or without MGA for 7 d (d -6 to 0). On d -6, CIDR were inserted and then removed on d 0. Estrous behavior was monitored continuously from d -6 until 29 using HeatWatch electronic mount detectors. Blood was collected on d -13, and three times weekly from d -6 to 29. Treatment influenced (P = 0.03) the percentage of cows that were detected in standing estrus. Beginning on d 2, more CIDR-treated cows had exhibited standing estrus compared with high MGA-treated or control cows, but CIDR- and normal MGA-treated cows did not differ. The percentage of CIDR-treated cows that had ovulated was greater (P < 0.05) than the percentage of normal MGA-treated, high MGA-treated, or control cows beginning on d 4. The percentage of cows that exhibited standing estrus before the first postpartum ovulation (CIDR = 65%, normal MGA = 57%, high MGA = 35%, control = 30%) did not differ (P = 0.09) among treatments. Luteal life span following the first ovulation postpartum and the percentage of cows with a normal luteal life span (i.e., progesterone > 1 ng/mL for > or = 10 d) was greater (P < 0.01) in CIDR-treated cows (14.0 +/- 0.8 d; 20/20, 100%) compared with normal MGA-treated (6.2 +/- 1.0 d; 3/13, 23%), high MGA-treated (9.6 +/- 1.0 d; 8/14, 57%), or control cows (6.1 +/- 0.9 d; 4/17, 24%), and greater (P < 0.03) in high MGA-treated cows than in normal MGA-treated or control cows. In the present study, treatment of early postpartum suckled beef cows with CIDR induced ovulation and initiated estrous cycles with a normal luteal life span in more cows than did treatment with MGA. Treatment with MGA (normal or high dose) did not induce ovulation earlier than in control cows, but a high dose of MGA increased the percentage of cows with normal luteal life spans following the first ovulation postpartum.