In post-partum anestrous beef cows suckling calves, neither the choice of hormonal regime to ensure the presence of a healthy dominant follicle at the end of a progestagen treatment nor the optimum hormone to induce estrus and ovulation is clear. Twenty-eight beef cows, in good body condition, 25-30 days post-partum, were assigned to one of four treatments: (i) 3mg norgestomet (N) implant with 5mg estradiol valerate (EDV) and 3mg N injection at the time of insertion (Crestar) for 5 days followed by 600 IU eCG at the time of implant removal; (ii) Crestar for 5 days as in (i) followed by 0.75 mg estradiol benzoate (EDB) 24h later; (iii) Crestar for 9 days followed by 600 IU eCG at the time of implant removal; and (iv) Crestar for 9 days followed by 0.75 mg EDB 24h later. Ovarian scanning was preformed from 4 days before implant insertion until ovulation and 4 days postovulation to detect the CL. Daily blood samples were collected from day 20 post-partum until second ovulation for FSH and E(2) assay. Data were analyzed using analysis of variance. There was no effect of the stage of follicle wave at the time of implant insertion on interval to new follicle wave emergence (range 1-7 days; mean 4.7 days). FSH concentrations were decreased to 5.9+/-2.0 and 7.7+/-1.1 ng/ml for pre- and post-selection cows 1 day after start of treatment; thereafter, they increased on Day 2 to 7.9+/-2.0 and 11.0+/-1.1 ng/ml and on Day 3 to 10.3+/-2.7 and 11.4+/-1.7 ng/ml for pre- and post-selection cows, respectively, despite high-estradiol concentrations at that time. There was no effect of treatment on the interval from implant removal to ovulation (3.2-4.0 days) or on the number of cows detected in estrus (26 of 27 cows). The size of the ovulatory follicle in cows given 0.75 mg EDB 24h post implant removal was decreased in animals at the pre-selection stage (12.2+/-0.1mm) of the follicle wave compared with those at the post-selection stage (15.3+/-0.9 mm) at implant removal. Cows given 600 IU eCG at the pre-selection phase of follicular growth had multiple ovulations (4.0+/-1.1). Cows given EDV at the start of a 5-day implant period had higher estradiol concentrations before and on the day of implant removal than those given EDV at the start of a 9-day implant period. The injection of 0.75 mg EDB 1 day after implant removal tended to increase concentrations of estradiol one day later. In conclusion, 5mg EDV and 3mg N at insertion of a 3mg N implant resulted in variable new follicle wave emergence 1-7 days later in post-partum beef cows nursing calves (22 of 27); both eCG and EDB were equally effective at inducing estrus after implant removal in cows in good BCS, but eCG resulted in a significant increase in ovulation rate in cows treated before dominant follicle selection.
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