Effects of temporary calf removal before fixed-time artificial insemination on pregnancy rates and subsequent calf performance in suckled beef cows
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Two experiments were conducted to determine the effect of calf removal (CR) on pregnancy rate (PR) and calf performance in suckled beef cows. Cows in both experiments were synchronized with the 7-d CO-Synch + CIDR protocol [i.e., 100-µg injection of GnRH at controlled internal drug release (CIDR) device insertion (d -7) with 25-mg injection of PGF2α at CIDR removal (d 0), followed by injection of GnRH and timed AI (TAI) on d 3]. Cows were blocked by location (6 locations), stratified by days postpartum (DPP) and parity, and assigned to 1 of 2 treatments in Exp. 1: 1) control (Control; n = 156); 2) calves were separated from their dams between d 0 and 3 (CR72; n = 168); and 1 of 4 treatments in Exp. 2: 1) Control (n = 103); 2) CR72 (n = 104); 3) calves were separated from their dams between d 0 and 2 (CR48A; n = 95); and 4) similar to CR48A but CR between d 1 and 3 (CR48B; n = 53). Transrectal ultrasonography of ovarian structures was performed on d 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 10 (in a subset of cows) to determine pregnancy status on d 33. Blood samples were collected on d -14, -7, 0, 3, and 10 (in a subset of cows) to determine concentrations of progesterone (P4) and estradiol (E2). Calves were blocked by age as young (25 to 59 d), medium (60 to 79 d), and old (≥80 d), and were weighed on d 0, 3, 33, and 63. Overall PR did not differ among treatments and averaged 50%. Follicle growth rate from d 0 to 3 tended (P = 0.06) to be greater for CR72 (0.42 ± 0.15 mm/d) compared with Control (0.02 ± 0.15 mm/d). Young (-3.9 ± 0.3%) and old (-3.1 ± 0.4%) calves lost a greater (P < 0.001) percent of BW (PBW) during CR than medium-age (-1.6 ± 0.3%) calves exposed to CR72. In Exp. 2, PR were similar among all 3 locations (49%; P = 0.15). Young (-4.8 ± 0.6%) and medium (-3.0 ± 0.5%) calves lost greater (P < 0.01) percent body weight (PBW) during CR than old (-1.4 ± 0.6%) calves within the CR72 treatment. Calves exposed to CR48 (-2.2 ± 0.6%, -1.1 ± 0.6%, and -2.4 ± 0.6% PBW change for young, medium, and old, respectively) lost more BW than calves in the Control group (-3.7 ± 0.4%, -1.7 ± 0.5%, and -2.1 ± 0.5% PBW change for young, medium, and old, respectively). Subsequent calf weights on d 33 and 63 were greater (P < 0.05) in Controls than cows exposed to CR48 or CR72 treatments. We conclude that CR stimulated follicle growth but failed to enhance PR to TAI. However, CR had a negative impact on subsequent calf performance, which differed, depending on the duration and age of the calf when exposed to CR.
author list (cited authors)
Marquezini, G., Mercadante, V., Bischoff, K. M., Black, T. E., DiLorenzo, N., Bird, S. L., ... Lamb, G. C.