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Monitor Reproductive Programs Through Bovine Blood Progesterone Testing
Managing a successful artificial insemination program includes not only time, technique and expertise but also monitoring to maximize results. Blood progesterone concen-trations can be used to evaluate heat detection accuracy, synchronization efficiency and animal cyclicity.
Why should blood progesterone concentrations
be monitored?
Inaccurate heat detection is costly. Research has estimated
between 5% to 25% of cows are not in heat when insemi-nated and in some problem herds this number can be as high as 60%. Additionally, low heat detection accuracy can increase the incidence of pregnancies lost because the insemi- nation of pregnant cows can induce embryonic death or abortion. In general, a heat detection accuracy of 90% Figure 1: Blood progesterone testing results for RMS
(2 of every 20 cows inseminated are not in heat) is an accept- dairies, goals and observed research * Routine monitoring of RMS® dairies (n=782) has assisted ABS customers in improving their heat detection accuracy, synchronization Monitoring synchronization protocol efficiency can be efficiency and cyclicity to high levels challenging. To obtain good efficiency requires all protocol When should blood progesterone concentrations
injections to be administered correctly and given at the be monitored?
appropriate times. In practice, it can be difficult to track Progesterone concentrations vary throughout a cow's estrous compliance on injections. However, according to university cycle. Figure 2 shows the normal change in levels and research, when the protocol is correctly applied, a synchro- the appropriate time to sample based on the monitoring nization rate ranging from 80 to 90% can be obtained for Ovsynch and Presynch-Ovsynch protocols. This number can be used as a reasonable goal to evaluate synchronization effi-ciency of the protocol in your herd. The negative impact of anovulation on reproductive effi-ciency is well known. Non-cycling cows do not conceive and might not respond to synchronization protocols delaying the occurrence of first ovulation. Although they do not ovulate, some show heat and might be inseminated, resulting in a considerable loss of semen and labor. Research has reported between 15 to 25% of cows are non-cycling by 45 to 70 days postpartum. A high incidence of non-cycling cows is associ-ated with poor timed breeding results. In general, a percent cycling of 85-90% is an acceptable goal. (Figure 1) Figure 2: Expected progesterone levels during the
estrous cycle and sampling times to evaluate heat detection accuracy, synchonization efficiency and cyclicity 2009 ABS Global, Inc. • 1525 River Road • DeForest, WI USA 53532 • 608-846-3721 • Fax: 608-846-6444 •

Heat Detection Accuracy:
and collection date (submission tubes). Once separated from Use progesterone testing in conjunction with breedings based clot, serum samples should be frozen until submitted. Serum on observations, visual and from heat detection aids. should be separated within 12 hours of collection.
• Sample every cow the technician breeds by observed estrus Sample Submission and Charges:
until a minimum of 20-30 samples are obtained. Cows 1. Cost is $7.00 per sample, minimum of 20 animals or with low progesterone levels on breeding day indicate $6.00 per sample for 50 or more samples.
good accuracy.
2. Send notice of samples (dairy and quantity) to ABS Synchronization Efficiency and Cyclicity:
Technical Services before sending samples:
Use progesterone testing in conjunction with a timed A.I. 1-800-356-5331 ext. 1489 OR synchronization protocol. [email protected] • Sample a minimum of 20 animals on the day of breeding 3. Pack samples in FOAM SHIPPING BOX with ice packs,
and resample the SAME animals 7-14 days post insemina- submission form and payment (see page 3) tion. Cows with low progesterone at breeding and high 4. Send samples to be received on the 1st or 3rd Wednesday
progesterone 7-14 days post breeding represent cycling of the month. Results will be returned within 10 business cows as well as validate synchronization efficiency. Cows days following receipt of samples.
with low progesterone at breeding and 7-14 days post breeding may indicate the cow is non-cycling or under- - send samples to: going early embryonic death. Further investigation is warranted. Joel Yelich
How can ABS assist in monitoring blood
Bldg 459 Shealy Drive
University of Florida
ABS Global Technical Services offers blood progesterone Gainesville, FL 32608
testing for use in reproductive management and monitoring.
Below are sample collection and submission information.
Sample Collection:
Use a blood collection kit (Figure 3) to obtain blood sample 1 Sturman, H.E., A.B. Oltenacu, and R.H. Foote. 2000. Theriogenology in individual red top tubes. Do not break the vacuum on the tube. Label the tube with the cow's ID and date.
2 Reimers, T.J., R.D. Smith, and S.K. Newman. 1985. J. Dairy Sci. 68:963-972.
Once the samples have been collected, sit them upright in 3 Cavestany, D., and Galina, C.S. 2001. Reprod. Domest. Anim. 36:79-84. a warm place until the serum separates from the clotted red cells. Pour off the serum into additional red top tubes. 4 Vasconcelos, J., L.M., R.W. Silcox, G.J. Rosa, J.R. Pursley, and M.C. Wiltbank. 1999. Theriogenology 52:1067–1078.
Alternatively you can centrifuge samples and separate the 5 Pursley, J.R., P.M. Fricke, H.A. Garverick, D.J. Kesler, J.S. Ottobre, serum into new red top tubes. Label tubes with the cow's ID J. S. Stevenson, and M. C. Wiltbank. 2001. J. Dairy Sci. 83 (Suppl. 1):1563. (Abstr.).
6 Moreira, F., O. Orlandi, C.A. Risco, R. Mattos, F. Lopes, and W.W. Thatcher. 2001. J. Dairy Sci. 84:1646-1659.
7 Cartmill. J.A., S.Z. El-Zarkouny, B.A. Hensley, G.C. Lamb, and J. S. Stevenson. 2001. J. Dairy Sci. 84:1051-1059.
Figure 3: Blood collection kit
ABS Global Blood Progesterone Submission Form
Method of Contact:  Email  Fax Contact Email:
Method of Payment:
 Make checks payable to ABS Global
Credit Card # (16 digits total): Expiration Date (mm/yy): Amount to be Charged ( Samples × $7.00 or Samples (50+) × $6.00): Attach additional sheets if needed 2009 ABS Global, Inc. • 1525 River Road • DeForest, WI USA 53532 • 608-846-3721 • Fax: 608-846-6449 •
2009 ABS Global, Inc. • 1525 River Road • DeForest, WI USA 53532 • 608-846-3721 • Fax: 608-846-6449 • www.absglobal.com42342


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