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Artificial insemination of Holstein heifers with sex-sorted semen during the hot season in a subtropical region

Chang, Lian-Ben, Chou, Chih-Jen, Shiu, Jia-Shian, Tu, Po-An, Gao, Shi-Xuan, Peng, Shao-Yu, Wu, Shinn-Chih
Tropical animal health and production 2017 v.49 no.6 pp. 1157-1162
Holstein, artificial insemination, cows, heifers, insemination, pregnancy outcome, pregnancy rate, semen, subtropics, uterus, warm season, Taiwan
Our aim was to investigate insemination techniques in order to improve pregnancy rates of artificial insemination (AI) using sex-sorted semen (sexed AI) in cattle in tropical and subtropical (T/ST) regions. In T/ST regions, the pregnancy rates by sexed AI are reportedly the lowest in the hottest months of the year, with less than 15% in cows and 35–40% in heifers (PMID 24048822). We compared sexed AI by depositing the semen into the uterine body (UB-AI, n = 12) versus the unilateral uterine horn (UUH-AI, n = 14) of pre-ovulation heifers. The ovary and follicle were assessed by rectal ultrasound before AI. After insemination, pregnancy was determined by ultrasound at approximately 40 days and approximately 70 days. In the present study, we demonstrated that high pregnancy rates (>70%) by sexed AI in the hottest season in a subtropical region such as Taiwan can be achieved when heifers with pre-ovulation follicles are used. The overall pregnancy rates were 54% higher in the UUH-AI (71%) group than in the UB-AI (42%) group (P = 0.06), examined on approximately 40 days post-sexed AI. Surprisingly, however, the pregnancy outcome appeared to be higher in the hot season (62%) than in the cool season (46%) although this difference was not statistically significant. Based on the present study, we recommend that cattle breeders perform UUH-AI using sex-sorted semen for heifers with pre-ovulation follicles in order to achieve satisfactory pregnancy outcome in the hot seasons in T/ST regions.