Intensive genetic selection for increased milk production, coupled with increased dry matter intakes has led to significant improvements in cow milk yield, however, this increase in milk output has been accompanied by a decline in cow fertility. It has been suggested that there is a higher increment of late embryonic loss in high-yielding than in moderate yielding cows or in heifers. The objectives of this study were to establish the extent and pattern of embryonic loss, from days 28 to 84 of gestation, and to examine possible relationships between cow milk yield, cow genetic merit, parity, calving to insemination interval and embryonic loss in dairy cows managed mainly under pasture-based milk production systems. Multiparous dairy cows (n=1046) located on 8 farms and nulliparous dairy heifers (n=162) located on five of these farms were used in this study. The extent and timing of embryonic loss was measured by ultrasound scanning of the cows and heifers at 14-day intervals between days 28 and 84 of gestation. Positive diagnosis of pregnancy was based on the presence of an embryo or foetus with a visible heartbeat and, at the later scans, visible movement, whose size was compatible with stage of gestation and also on the presence of clear amniotic fluid of the cows and heifers presented as presumed pregnant on day 28 after insemination, 67 and 81%, respectively had a viable embryo. The subsequent embryonic loss rate between days 28 and 84 of gestation was similar (P>0.05) for cows (7.2%) and heifers (6.1%) and the pattern of loss over this period was also similar (P>0.05) for cows and heifers. There was no significant association (P>0.05) between level of milk production or milk energy output measured to day 120 of lactation and embryonic loss rate. Similarly, there was no significant relationship (P>0.05) between % milk fat, % milk protein and % milk lactose and embryonic loss rate. The extent and pattern of embryonic loss were not related (P>0.05) to either cow or to cow sire genetic merit. There was no significant (P>0.05) relationship between the calving to first service interval and embryonic loss. The extent of embryonic loss was greater (P<0.05) in cows that lost body condition between days 28 and 56 of gestation compared with cows than either maintained or improved in body condition.