Evaluation of reproductive and economic outcomes of dairy heifers inseminated at induced estrus or at fixed time after a 5-day or 7-day progesterone insert-based ovulation synchronization protocol

J Dairy Sci. 2013 Mar;96(3):1612-22. doi: 10.3168/jds.2012-5971. Epub 2013 Jan 26.


The objectives of the current experiment were to evaluate the reproductive performance and economic outcome of 3 synchronization strategies for first artificial insemination (AI) of dairy heifers. Holstein heifers from 2 herds (site A, California, n=415; site B, Idaho, n=425) were assigned to 1 of 3 treatments. Heifers assigned to the AI on estrus (AIE) treatment received an injection of 25mg of PGF(2α) at enrollment (d 0) and every 11 d thereafter until AI occurred. Heifers assigned to the CIDR5 treatment received a controlled internal drug release insert (CIDR) containing 1.38 g of progesterone, which was removed 5 d later concomitantly with an injection of 25mg of PGF(2α), and received fixed-time AI (TAI) concomitantly with an injection of 100 μg of GnRH 53 to 60 h later. Heifers assigned to the CIDR7 treatment received a CIDR insert, which was removed 7 d later concomitantly with an injection of 25mg of PGF(2α), and received TAI concomitantly with an injection of 100 μg of GnRH 53 to 60 h later. Heifers were observed for estrus and inseminated up to 98 and 73 d after enrollment in sites A and B, respectively. Thereafter, heifers were moved to pens with bulls and considered failure to conceive to AI if still not pregnant at the end of the observation period. Economic outcomes were based on cost of synchronization protocol (CIDR treatment=$11, PGF(2α) or GnRH treatments=$2.5/treatment, estrous detection=$0.80/heifer per day), rearing cost ($2.75/heifer per day), and economic loss if a heifer did not conceive to first AI ($150). Input cost of the reproductive programs=synchronization protocol cost + semen cost + rearing cost + replacement cost. Pregnancy per AI (P/AI) 38 ± 3 d after first AI was greatest for AIE heifers (61.1%) followed by CIDR5 (44.8%) and CIDR7 (35.7%) heifers. Furthermore, P/AI 73 ± 7 d after first AI was greatest for AIE (58.8%) and tended to be greater for CIDR5 (42%) than for CIDR7 (34.1%) heifers. The percentage of heifers that had spontaneous luteolysis from CIDR insertion to CIDR removal was reduced for CIDR5 compared with CIDR7 (13.8 vs 31.8%). Pregnancy rate was greatest for AIE heifers but did not differ between CIDR5 [adjusted hazard ratio (95% confidence interval)=0.75 (0.63, 0.90)] and CIDR7 [adjusted hazard ratio (95% confidence interval)=0.65 (0.54, 0.77)] heifers. Consequently, rearing cost and input cost of AIE heifers ($67.1 ± 4.4 and -$107.1 ± 7.0, respectively) were reduced compared with CIDR5 ($86.9 ± 5.1 and -$143.4 ± 8.1, respectively) and CIDR7 ($98.3 ± 5.1 and -$156.5 ± 8.2, respectively) heifers, but no differences were observed between CIDR5 and CIDR7 heifers.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Dairying / economics
  • Dairying / methods*
  • Dinoprost / adverse effects
  • Dinoprost / pharmacology*
  • Estrus Detection / methods
  • Estrus Synchronization / methods*
  • Female
  • Insemination, Artificial / economics
  • Insemination, Artificial / methods
  • Insemination, Artificial / veterinary
  • Pregnancy
  • Time Factors


  • Dinoprost