What Stops Cow Reproduction Being Successful?

Those scratching their heads over reaching reproductive targets may want to consider six factors, say a team of Irish researchers.
calendar icon 12 August 2014
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In the Journal of Dairy Science, the team, made up of three University College Dublin and one Teagasc expert, states that reproduction may hinge on:

  1. Increased metabolic activity of the liver (increased glutamate dehydrogenase at calving and increased γ-glutamyl transpeptidase in week four postpartum)
  2. A competent immune system (increased neutrophils in week one postpartum; decreased α1-acid glycoprotein in weeks one, two and three postpartum)
  3. An endocrine system that was capable of responding by producing sufficient triiodothyronine in week two postpartum, and increased insulin-like growth factor I in weeks three and four postpartum
  4. A lower negative energy balance status (decreased nonesterified fatty acid concentration in week one postpartum; decreased β-hydroxybutyrate concentration in week two postpartum; body condition score (BCS) loss between calving and day 28 postpartum less than 0.5)
  5. Good reproductive tract health (normal uterine scan at day 45 postpartum; clear vaginal mucus discharge at first ovulation and at day 45 postpartum; resumed ovarian cyclicity by the end of the voluntary waiting period)
  6. Adequate diet (to ensure increased glutathione peroxidase in week two and three postpartum and increased magnesium in week four). Furthermore, the risk factors that increased the odds of a successful first artificial insemination (A.I.) were previous ovulation(s) (odds ratio = 3.17 per ovulation), BCS >2.5 at A.I. (odds ratio = 3.01) and clear vaginal mucus (score = 0) compared with purulent mucus (score >0) 4 days after first A.I. (odds ratio = 2.99).
S.P.M. Aungier, J.F. Roche, M.G. Diskin, M.A. Crowe
Journal of Dairy Science Volume 97, Issue 6, Pages 3472–3487, June 2014
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