Resynchronization of estrus in cattle of unknown pregnancy status using estrogen, progesterone, or both.
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Our objective was to develop treatments applied to cattle of unknown pregnancy status that would resynchronize the repeat estrus of nonpregnant females. In Exp. 1, previously inseminated dairy and beef heifers were assigned randomly to each of three treatments 13 d after AI: 1) no treatment (controls; n = 44); 2) 0.5 mg of estradiol cypionate (ECP) i.m. on d 13 and 20 at the time of insertion and removal of a used intravaginal progesterone (P4)-releasing insert (CIDR; P4 + ECP; n = 44); and 3) same as P4 + ECP without injections of ECP (P4; n = 42). The P4 + ECP (>90%) and P4 (>75%) protocols effectively synchronized repeat periods of estrus to 2 d and did not harm established pregnancies. In Exp. 2, treatments similar to those in Exp. 1 were applied to previously inseminated beef heifers (n = 439). Feeding 0.5 mg of melengestrol acetate (MGA) from d 13 to 19 after AI replaced the CIDR as a source of progestin. Of those heifers not pregnant (n = 65) after the initial AI, more than 86% were reinseminated, but conception was decreased (P < 0.05) by 28 to 39% compared with controls. In Exp. 3, previously inseminated lactating beef cows at four locations were assigned within herd to each of three treatments: 1) no treatment (control; n = 307); 2) same as in Exp. 1, but with P4 + 1 mg of estradiol benzoate on d 13 and 20 (P4 + EB; n = 153); and 3) same as in Exp. 1, P4 + ECP (n = 149). Treatments with P4 plus estrogen did not decrease conception rates in pregnant cows at any location, but increased (P < 0.05) the percentage of nonpregnant cows returning to estrus between 19 and 23 d after timed AI from 29% in controls to 86% in P4 + EB and 65% in P4 + ECP cows. Conception rates at the return estrus were not decreased when treatments occurred between d 13 and 20. In Exp. 4, lactating beef cows were assigned as in Exp. 3 to each of three treatments: 1) no treatment (controls; n = 51); 2) P4 + ECP (n = 47), as in Exp. 1; and 3) a single injection of ECP on d 13 (n = 48). Previously established pregnancies were not harmed (P = 0.70), and return rates of nonpregnant cows did not differ (P = 0.78) among treatments. In summary, in both heifers and lactating beef cows, the P4-based resynchronization treatments increased synchronized return rates when estrus detection rates were low, had no negative effects on established pregnancies, and decreased or tended to decrease conception rates at the resynchronized estrus.