Fertility of Holstein Cattle in a Subtropical Climate of Egypt

Document Type : Research Article


Department of Theriogenology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Cairo University, Giza, Egypt


The pregnancy results of 17337 inseminations carried out in a dairy herd near Cairo over a period of 12 years were retrospectively analyzed in relation to environmental temperature and temperature-humidity index (THI). The overall average of pregnancy rates to all inseminations was significantly (P<0.01) lower in pluriparous cows (31.0%) than in heifers (63.5%). Stress of lactation, propensity for clinical and subclinical mastitis and problems associated with calving are possible underlying causes. In cows, the month of insemination significantly (P<0.05) influenced the pregnancy rate. A substantial decrease of pregnancy rates from 34.1% in May to 15.7% in July as the maximum environmental temperature increased from 33.3 ˚C to 36.3 ˚C and mean THI increased from 69 to 74 was recorded. In spite of the slight increase in pregnancy rates after July, it remained low during autumn referring to the carryover effects of the summer heat load. This resulted in significantly (P<0.05) lower pregnancy rates during summer (21.2%) and autumn (24.4%) than in winter (39.1%) and spring (37.2%). Maximum environmental temperature and mean THI accounted for 72% and 82%, respectively, of the variations in pregnancy rates. The average number of inseminations per conception was the lowest between January and April (2.4±0.2 to 2.6±0.2). This was followed by a significant (P<0.05) increase in this parameter (from 2.9±0.6 in May to 6.4±1.9 in July) coinciding with increased maximum environmental temperature to reach its peak in July. The overall average number of inseminations per conception in cows was 3.2±0.4. In heifers, the pregnancy rate was high (56.9 to 69.8%) throughout the year with no significant differences between months or seasons of insemination. Better efficiency of heifers at thermoregulation compared with pluriparous cows may be implicated. The average number of inseminations per conception in heifers was 1.6±0.04.


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