Prolonged service intervals in cattle

Prolonged service intervals in cattle
Peer reviewed


A trial based on progesterone radioimmunoassay of milk samples is described. Samples from 2274 cows in 14 herds were collected on the day of insemination and 7, 23 and 30 days later, unless a return to service occurred before the designated sample date. Two additional samples were collected from cows which returned to service more than 35 days after the first service, one on the day of the return and another seven days later. All six samples from these cows were assayed for progesterone concentration. Late returns, defined as returns to oestrus 36 or more days after mating, occurred in 8.6% of the cows. Milk progesterone assay results indicate that of these apparently late-returning cows, 55.9% suffered a loss of the conceptus, 22.1% had not been detected in oestrus around 21 days after first insemination, 11.8% were in anoestrus at insemination, 5.6% conceived to the insemination and were pregnant when thought to have hald a late return, 2.6% were in prooestrus or dioestrus at insemination and 2.1% went into anoestrus after an oestrus insemination. The average prevalence of late returns after the 35th day (8.6%) and the estimated incidence of losses of concepta (4.8%) are lower than those reported in comparable studies elsewhere. Although many of the late-return cows were mated again and conceived, this syndrome nevertheless contributes significantly to the wastage rate, at least in New Zealand dairy herds with their strictly seasonal calving pattern. The implications of these findings are discussed and recommendations for their prevention are made where appropriate.

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