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Angus Journal
Copyright © 2015
Angus Journal


Effective Implementation for ET Success

Proper management practices influence viability of embryo transfer program.

by Katy Kemp for Angus Journal®

STILLWATER, Okla. (Oct. 9, 2014) — To have a successful embryo transfer (ET) program, donor/recipient selection and management are key. Knowledge, skills and expertise make a difference, you can never be too understaffed or underequipped, said Brad Stroud, addressing attendees at the 2014 Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle (ARSBC) symposium Oct. 8-9 in Stillwater, Okla.

When evaluating an ET program’s influence, Stroud uses three criteria.

  1. Embryo production: management of the donor.
  2. ET conception rates: management of the recipient and heat detection.
  3. Consistency: reliability of practitioner and resources.

According the American Embryo Transfer Association (AETA) the national average of viable embryos per flush is 6.9, and only 54.6% of total ova recovered are viable. Proper donor management can influence the number of viable embryos. Stroud’s data suggested donors are in the best reproductive status when lactating and between the ages of 2 and 10 years. Donors should also be fleshy, but not fat or thin for best results.

“Young to middle-age cows produce the best results when wet,” Stroud said.

Once embryos are collected, recipient management is the second factor to influence conception rates of an ET program. Recipient’s forage intake should be monitored. Additionally, use of accurate heat detection and ultrasound technology can indicate the presence of a corpus luteum (CL). He warned against just selecting open cows within the herd for recipients.

“The most common mistake of recipient management is the selection of old, dry, fat cows within the herd,” Stroud said.

Lastly, Stroud emphasized the importance proper facilities and the practitioner have on consistency of success. Effective ET managers and practitioners minimize negative flushes, are reliable and accurate with heat detection, know the cows and forage, and are skilled with artificial insemination (AI), he said.

Stroud spoke during Thursday’s ARSBC session focused on advanced reproductive technologies. Visit the Newsroom at www.appliedreprostrategies.com to listen to his presentation and to view his PowerPoint slides and proceedings paper.

Comprehensive coverage of the symposium is available online at www.appliedreprostrategies.com. Compiled by the Angus Journal editorial team, the site is made possible through sponsorship by the Beef Reproduction Task Force.

Editor's Note: This article was written under contract or by staff of the Angus Journal. To request reprint permission and guidelines, contact Shauna Rose Hermel, editor, at 816-383-5270.