Progesterone supplementation postinsemination improves fertility of cooled dairy cows during the summer

E. Friedman, Z. Roth, H. Voet, Y. Lavon, D. Wolfenson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Reduced fertility of dairy cows during periods of elevated temperature, humidity, or both might be associated with low plasma progesterone concentration. Alleviation of thermal stress by efficient cooling is a prerequisite for improving fertility by hormonal treatment. We examined whether insertion of a controlled intravaginal drug-releasing (CIDR) insert containing progesterone following artificial insemination (AI) would improve summer conception rate. Control (n = 195) and treated (CIDR; n = 165) cows, yielding on average 42.3. kg milk/d, were inseminated following estrus detection during the summer (July to October) in 2 commercial dairy herds in Israel. Mean maximal air temperature and relative humidity during the study were 30.2°C and 86%, respectively. All experimental cows were efficiently cooled throughout the study, as confirmed by measuring the body temperature of random cows. Treated cows received a CIDR insert on d 5 ± 1 post-AI for 13 d and pregnancy was confirmed by palpation 45 d post-AI. Plasma progesterone concentration in treated cows was elevated by approximately 1.5. ng/mL. Multiple logistic regressions were used to analyze conception rate. Treatment did not alter the overall conception rate; however, probability of conception increased in CIDR-treated cows with low body condition score (BCS) compared with their control counterparts (53 vs. 27%, respectively). A pronounced increase in probability of conception was recorded in CIDR-treated cows exhibiting both low BCS and postpartum reproductive disorders, compared with their control counterparts (58 vs. 14%, respectively). Exogenous progesterone supplementation on d 5 post-AI for 13 d improves summer fertility of subpopulations of cows exhibiting low BCS and postpartum reproductive disorders. Reproductive management based on specific hormonal treatment of designated subgroups of cows known to derive beneficial effects from it might improve treatment efficiency and reduce expenses.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3092-3099
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Cooling
  • Fertility
  • Progesterone
  • Summer


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