Author: Anna Lena Lindau – BRS (L.Lindau@rind-schwein.de)
The demonstrations were carried out in two Suckler beef farms (part-time farmers) - one was performed on a quite small farm with only 5 suckler cows. The farmer had an issue with finding the correct timing for artificial insemination (AI), so he agreed to tested an Ov-synch programm. The second farmer had 10 Charolais cows. As he didn’t notice estrus in his cows as long as the calves were still with the cows he agreed to test intravaginal progesterone inserts.
Both farmers agreed that the hormone protocols really helped in getting the cows pregnant. There was no need for intensive observation to find a good timing for AI. All cows involved in the demonstration got pregnant except one. This one though was already 16 years old, so the researcher (A. Lindau) assumed that to be the reason. All cows with the intravaginal progesterone insert (PRID) got pregnant at first try of AI. In the herd trying the Ov-synch program one animal needed a second try but got pregnant in the first cycle after Ov-synch. Both farmers were very happy about the outcome. Although there was scepticism at the beginning because of the costs of the hormone treatment, both farmers realised that the missed estrus and the futile AI without treatment are significantly more expensive in the long run.
The most difficult part was the handling of the animals. On the farm with the Ov-synch program the injections were quite easy to applicate as the animal were fixated properly and were very tame and peaceful. The farmer was a bit anxious about the injections as he feared the animals would get angry in the long term. After the first and second injection the animals indeed became a bit cautious when lured to the restraining. But after the AI and a week of caring without injections they were as gentle as before. On the farm testing the PRID the restraining of the animals was more difficult as the cows were still with their calves and quite stubborn when it came to handling them. Also it was crucial to work very hygienically as to prevent vaginal infections.
The farmers did the injections necessary themselves so they only had the costs of the hormone solution or device plus costs for inserting the PRID and sperm for AI.
Both farmers would recommend this innovation under certain circumstances. This Innovation makes sense when you do AI but have difficulty in finding the right timing. Then this method saves time and money. Another reason would be the need to calving concentration, to optimise labour or space in the facilities, for example.
Demonstrations on Ovarian synchronisation protocols were also carried out in Spain.
Link to the innovation on BKH: https://hub.bovine-eu.net/optimizing-the-number-of-calves-per-cow-per-year-in-suckler-beef-herds-/ovarian-synchronization-protocols-to-improve-reproductive-efficiency-in-beef-heifers