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Estimating probability of insemination success using milk progesterone measurements

Blavy, P., Friggens, N.C., Nielsen, K.R., Christensen, J.M., Derks, M.
Journal of dairy science 2018 v.101 no.2 pp. 1648-1660
artificial insemination, cows, dairy herds, data collection, equations, estrus, estrus detection, farmers, farms, insemination, milk, milk yield, models, probability, progesterone
The aim of this study was to quantify the effects of progesterone profile features and other cow-level factors on insemination success to provide a real-time predictor equation of probability of insemination success. Progesterone profiles from 26 dairy herds were analyzed and the effects of profile features (progesterone slope, cycle length, and cycle height) and cow traits (milk yield, parity, insemination during the previous estrus) on likelihood of artificial insemination success were estimated. The equation was fitted on a training data set containing data from 16 herds (6,246 estrous cycles from 3,404 lactations). The equation was tested on a testing data set containing data from 10 herds (8,105 estrous cycles from 3,038 lactations). Predictors were selected to be implemented in the final equation if adding them to a base model correcting for timing of insemination and parity decreased the overall likelihood distance of the model. Selected variables (cycle length, milk yield, cycle height, and insemination during the previous estrus) were used to build the final model using a stepwise approach. Predictors were added 1 by 1 in different order, and the model that had the smallest likelihood distance was selected. The final equation included the variables timing of insemination, parity, milk yield, cycle length, cycle height, and insemination during the previous estrus, respectively. The final model was applied to the testing data set and area under the curve (AUC) was calculated. On the testing data set, the final model had an AUC of 58%. When the farm effect was taken into account, the AUC increased to 63%. This equation can be implemented on farms that monitor progesterone and can support the farmer in deciding when to inseminate a cow. This can be the first step in moving the focus away from the current paradigm associated with poorer estrus detection, where each detected estrus is automatically inseminated, to near perfect estrus detection, where the question is which estrous cycle is worth inseminating?