ESTROTECT™ Breeding Indicators are designed to help dairy and beef producers get cows pregnant and put more calves on the ground efficiently and economically. The newly redesigned ESTROTECT product was used in recent academic studies, including work by Dr. Ky Pohler, Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University, which tested the physiological causes of pregnancy loss in dairy and beef cattle. These studies found that using ESTROTECT Breeding Indicators featuring patent-pending Breeding Bullseye™ technology can help lead to an increased likelihood of getting cows bred and maintaining a successful pregnancy to term.
The newly designed ESTROTECT Breeding Indicators were applied to postpartum Bos indicus cows to help determine estrus status at the time of insemination using a fixed-time AI (FTAI) protocol. The Breeding Indicators were scored 0-through-4, with a score of 0 indicating a lost patch; a score of 1 signifying <25 percent patch activation; a score of 2 signifying <50 percent patch activation; a score of 3 signifying <75 percent patch activation; and a score of 4 signifying >75 percent patch activation. In this study, as patch score increased there was a significant increase in pregnancy rates to FTAI.
Additional studies (Franco et al., 2018 and Speckhart et al., 2018) reported increased day 30 pregnancy rates by artificial insemination in Bos taurus and Bos indicus females that exhibited estrus and higher ESTROTECT Breeding Indicator scores compared to those with less than 50 percent of their Breeding Indicators rubbed off.
Figure 1. Adapted from Franco et al. (2018) and Speckhart et al. (2018). Multiparous, Nelore cows (n = 1,228) in a Brazil study observed increased pregnancy rates at day 30 after AI as ESTROTECT Breeding Indicator scores increased in number (Patch 1, 35.3% vs. Patch 2, 52.8% vs. Patch 3, 58.6% vs. Patch 4, 66.5%; patch score 1 vs. 2 and 3, P = 0.0006, patch score 2 and 3 vs. 4, P < 0.0001).
Angus females (n = 1,304) in a study from the USA observed similar results to the Brazil data. Pregnancy rates demonstrated an increase as ESTROTECT Breeding Indicator scores increased in number (Patch 1, 50.2% vs. Patch 2, 51.4% vs. Patch 3, 47.4% vs. Patch 4, 66.1%; patch score 1 vs. 4, P < 0.0001).
Dr. Pohler’s group also evaluated ESTROTECT Breeding Indicator patch scores in relation to Pregnancy Associated Glycoproteins (PAG), a marker of pregnancy success. When tested for PAG 28 days after insemination, cows with higher ESTROTECT Breeding Indicator scores also had significantly higher PAG scores (Figure 2).
Figure 2. Adapted from Pohler et al. and Speckhart et al. (2018). Combined serum concentration of day 28 and day 30 PAGs (mean ± SEM) with different levels of ESTROTECT Breeding Indicator activation (1, <25% activated; 2, <50% activated; 3, <75% activated; and 4, >75% activated) at TAI in postpartum primiparous Nelore beef cows and Angus females, respectively. As estrus intensity increased, as determined by ESTROTECT Breeding Indicator patch scores, there was a numerical increase (P > 0.05) in circulating PAGs.
“This data clearly shows that cows experience increased pregnancy rates once the ESTROTECT Breeding Indicator’s Breeding Bullseye is activated,” Pohler said. “The evidence is clear that when you breed at a time of increased estrus activity, cows will experience increased pregnancy rate and decreased pregnancy loss.”
The final design of the new ESTROTECT Breeding Indicator with Breeding Bullseye technology was born through the results of testing and data. Now, when the Breeding Bullseye (or the equivalent amount) is rubbed off from mounting activity, producers and breeding specialists know it’s time to breed a cow.
A separate study (Colazo et al., 2018) supported these results. The timed AI beef cattle trial showed that when the new ESTROTECT Breeding Bullseye is rubbed off by mounting activity, cows are up to three times more likely to result in confirmed pregnancies than if estrus was not detected before insemination.
“The use of ESTROTECT Breeding Indicators in a timed AI protocol is an efficacious approach to improving reproductive efficiency and determining which heifers could be inseminated with sex-selected semen,” according to Dr. Marcos Colazo, a Scientist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry and Adjunct Professor at the University of Saskatchewan.
“The way the new ESTROTECT product is designed, the decision to breed becomes a yes or no decision,” Pohler said. “If you understand what’s going on with your animals, the data is there to back up the ESTROTECT product as an economical identifier of cows that have an increased likelihood of establishing and maintaining their pregnancy.”
Dairy and beef producers, Pohler said, can use ESTROTECT Breeding Indicators not only to help increase the rate of successful pregnancies on their operation but also to make better, smarter decisions with cows that may exhibit increased or decreased estrus activity.
For example, since a cow with lower ESTROTECT patch scores (less than 50 percent activated) has a higher likelihood of pregnancy failure, producers could choose to breed that animal with a high fertility sire, or a more economically-priced sire/embryo to decrease production cost and loss. The other option would be to skip insemination completely at that time.
For more information about ESTROTECT Breeding Indicators, visit ESTROTECT’s website.
The ESTROTECT Breeding Indicator is the industry standard for optimizing cattle breeding efficiency and economics. With millions and millions of units sold around the world, ESTROTECT is the only breeding management tool tested in a multitude of university studies by industry researchers.