Reproduction and Physiology

Comparison of Various Methods of Estrus Detection in Synchronized Virgin Beef Heifers

  • Mel Pence (Iowa State University)
  • M. L. Pugh (Iowa State University)
  • Suelee Robbe (Iowa State University)
  • Leo Timms (Iowa State University)
  • J. N. Caamano (Iowa State University)
  • John U. Thomson (Iowa State University)
  • C. R. Youngs (Iowa State University)
  • Russell Bredahl (Iowa State University)


Methods of heat detection were compared in the Mid- Crest Area Cattle Evaluation Program (MACEP) heifer development program in the 1998-breeding season. A total of 189 heifers from thirteen consignors entered the program on November 10, 1997. These heifers were condition scored, hip height measured, weighed, disposition scored, booster vaccinated, and treated for parasites at the time of arrival. Determination of the heifer’s mature weight was made and a target of 65% of their mature weight at breeding was established. The ration was designed to meet this goal. The heifers were kept in a dry lot until all heifers were AI bred once. The heifers were periodically weighed and condition scored to monitor their gains and the ration was adjusted as needed. The estrus synchronization program consisted of an oral progesterone analog for 14 days; 17 days after completion of the progesterone analog treatment a single injection of prostaglandin was given and the heifers were then estrus detected. Two concurrent methods of estrus detection were utilized: 1) Ovatec â electronic breeding probe (probe), 2) HeatWatchâ estrus detection system (HW), and 3) a combination of probe and HW. Probe readings were obtained each 12 hours and the heifers were continuously monitored for estrus activity using the HW system. The probe was used as the primary estrus detection method and the HW system was used as a back-up system. Those heifers that did not demonstrate any estrus signs prior to 96 hours post prostaglandin treatment were mass inseminated at 96 hours. Post AI breeding, 151 of the heifers were placed on pasture and ran with clean-up bulls for 60 days. The remaining heifers left the program after the AI breeding was completed. Pregnancy to the AI breeding was determined by ultrasound on June 29, 1998. Results from using both probe and HW were 60% pregnant by AI, probe alone was 32% pregnant by AI, and HW alone was 27% pregnant by AI. The result of mass insemination was 20% pregnant by AI.

Keywords: ASL R1655

How to Cite:

Pence, M., Pugh, M. L., Robbe, S., Timms, L., Caamano, J. N., Thomson, J. U., Youngs, C. R. & Bredahl, R., (2000) “Comparison of Various Methods of Estrus Detection in Synchronized Virgin Beef Heifers”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 1(1).

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Published on
01 Jan 2000
Peer Reviewed