Title page for ETD etd-06202003-122256

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Peralta, Oscar Alejandro
Author's Email Address operalta@vt.edu
URN etd-06202003-122256
Title Comparison of three estrus detection systems during summer heat stress in a large commercial dairy herd.
Degree Master of Science
Department Dairy Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Nebel, Raymond L. Committee Chair
Pearson, Ronald E. Committee Member
Swecker, William S. Jr. Committee Member
  • Detection of estrus
  • efficiency
  • HeatWatch
  • heat stress
Date of Defense 2003-06-12
Availability unrestricted

The objective of the study was to compare three systems for detection of estrus and combinations of these systems on a large commercial dairy (1000 lactating cows) during stress of summer heat. At 37 to 45 days in milk (DIM), 266 cows were fitted with a HeatWatch (HW) device (HeatWatch; DDx Inc., Boulder, CO), an activity (A) sensor (ALPRO; DeLaval Inc., Kansas City, MO), and observed visually (V) twice daily. Pregnancy status was determined by uterine palpation 35 to 49 d following artificial insemination (AI). The effects of DIM, parity, physical activity, standing events, months, AI technician, and interval between onset of estrus and AI on conception rate were determined using linear contrasts and logistic regression. Efficiencies for detection of estrus, determined by comparing detected periods of estrus with a theoretical total of 707 periods, were 45.8% (V), 33.2% (A), 40.3% (HW), and 71.6% for all three systems simultaneously. Conception rates (LSM ± SE) by method of detection were 16.7 ± 4.9 for HW, 19.8 ± 5.5 for A, 7.9 ± 3.4 for V, 16.3 ± 6.0 for V + A, 27.6 ± 4.6 for V + HW, 21.1 ± 4.9 for A + HW, and 21.9 ± 4.5 for V + A + HW. Conception rate and number of mounts decreased for cows in first versus second and third parity (P < 0.05). For periods of estrus detected by A, the lowest conception rate (P < 0.05) occurred >18 h after the onset of estrus (16.7 ± 7.9). The highest conception rate occurred with the combination of V + HW, which confirms the premise that combination of multiple systems enhances both the efficiency and accuracy of detection.

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