Fertility Parameters in Heifers

Abstract views: 95 / PDF downloads: 62


  • Mehmet Cengiz
  • Vefa Tohumcu Research Assistant
  • Armagan Hayirli


Body weight, heifer, insemination, reproduction


This retrospective study was conducted to elucidate reproductive parameters oh heifers. The age of insemination resulted with pregnancy (AIRP), the number of inseminations per pregnancy (NIPP), length of the gestation period (LGP), age at first calving (AFC), maternal body weight at the first calving (BWFC), and bodyweight of calves at parturition (BWCP) data were compiled from 179 heifers (Holstein, n = 32; Simmental, n = 147), which were born between June 22, 2013 and October 31, 2019 and raised under the same managerial program in a private farm. The data were subjected to 2-way ANOVA and regression analysis. The AIRP was longer in Simmental heifers than Holstein heifers (515 ± 5 d vs. 482 ± 7 d; P<0.01) while NIPP values were similar (1.99 ± 0.10 vs. 2.06 ± 0.10, P>0.05). Likewise, the AFC was 39 d shorter for Holstein heifers than that for Simmental heifers (753 ± 7 d vs. 796 ± 5 d, P<0.001). The LGP was shorter in Holstein heifers than Simmental heifers (271 ± 1 d vs. 280 ± 1 d; P<0.0001). However, the BWFC (576 ± 10 kg vs. 585 ± 5 kg) and BWCP (39.0 ± 0.8 kg vs. 40.7 ± 0.5) were not different. The sire, calf sex, and maternal weight accounted for 83.1% (P<0.01), 9.3% (P<0.05), and 7.6% (P>0.05) of variations in the BWCP. The linear models describing relationships were 1) LPG (d) = 0.46∙BWCP (kg) + 260.4, R² = 0.12 (P<0.0001), 2) AFC (d) = 28.05∙NIPP + 731.36, R² = 0.35, (P<0.0001), and 3) BWFC (kg) = 0.32∙AFC (d) + 328.47, R² = 0.11 (P<0.0001). In conclusion, reproductive management covering accurate observation for estrus sign, inseminated by experienced inseminator, checked for pregnancy status as early as possible is crucial to improve life-time productivity. Sire selection should be considered for minimizing dystocia incidence.


Allaire FR. 1981. Economic consequences of replacing cows with genetically improved heifers. Journal of Dairy Science, 64(10): 1985–1995.

Andersen H, Plum M. 1965. Gestation length and birth weight in cattle and buffaloes: a review. Journal of Dairy Science, 48(9): 1224–1235.

Arslan K, Akyüz B, Akçay A, Ilgar EG, Macun HC, Çınar MU. 2017. Association of number of artificial inseminations per pregnancy in Holstein dairy cows with polymorphism in luteinizing hormone receptor and follicle stimulating hormone receptor genes. Slovenian Veterinary Research, 54(2): 91–98.

Ateş EK, Arık HD. 2021. Nutrition and Importance of Breeding Heifers (14 Months And Over) in Dairy Cow Farms. Proceedıngs Book, Eduvet International Veterinary Sciences Congress, Samsun, Turkey, 25–27 June, pp 247.

Atkins JA, Pohler KG, Smith MF. 2013. Physiology and endocrinology of puberty in heifers. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Food Animal Practice, 29(3): 479–492.

Blackshaw JK, Blackshaw AW. 1994. Heat stress in cattle and the effect of shade on production and behavior: a review. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 34(2): 285–295.

Boztepe S, Aytekin İ. 2017. Süt sığırcılığında karlılığın anahtarı “days in milk (DIM) ve üreme ölçütlerine yeni yaklaşımlar, First ed. İskitler, Ankara.

Brickell JS, Bourne N, McGowan MM, Wathes DC. 2009. Effect of growth and development during the rearing period on the subsequent fertility of nulliparous Holstein–Friesian heifers. Theriogenology, 72(3): 408–416.

Çolakoğlu HE, Küplülü Ş. 2016. İnek ve düvelerde vücut kondisyon skoru değişiminin postpartum döneme ve fertilite parametrelerine etkisi. Kocatepe Veterinary Journal, 9(3): 146–158.

Cooke JS, Cheng Z, Bourne NE, Wathes DC. 2013. Association between growth rates, age at first calving and subsequent fertility, milk production and survival in Holstein–Friesian heifers. Open Journal of Animal Sciences, 3(1): 1–12.

Cottle DJ, Wallace M, Lonergan P, Fahey AG. 2018. Bio economics of sexed semen utilization in a high producing Holstein–Friesian dairy herd. Journal of Dairy Science, 101(5): 4498–4512.

Dawod A, Elbaz HT. 2020. Effect of sexed semen, puberty and breeding ages on fertility of Holstein dairy heifers treated with double Ovsynch protocol. Tropical Animal Health and Production, 52(6): 2925–2930.

Day ML, Nogueira GP. 2013. Management of age at puberty in beef heifers to optimize efficiency of beef production. Animal Frontiers, 3(4): 6–11.

Demiral O, Ün M, Abay M, Bekyürek T. 2007. The effect of artificial insemination timing on the sex ratio of offspring and fertility in dairy cows. Turkish Journal of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, 31(1): 21–24.

Ettema JF, Santos JEP. 2004. Impact of age at calving on lactation, reproduction, health, and income in first–parity Holsteins on commercial farms. Journal of Dairy Science, 87(8): 2730–2742.

Gabler MT, Tozer PR, Heinrichs AJ. 2000. Development of a cost analysis spread sheet for calculating the costs to raise a replacement dairy heifer. Journal of Dairy Science, 83(5): 1104–1109.

Gill GS, Allaire FR. 1976. Relationship of age at first calving, days open, days dry, and herd life to a profit function for dairy cattle. Journal of Dairy Science, 59(6): 1131–1139.

Gümüș H, Akın AC. 2019. Determination of the feedlot performance and ration cost in Charolais breed heifers before insemination. Kocatepe Veterinary Journal, 12(3): 284–291.

Han L, Heinrichs AJ, De Vries A, Dechow CD. 2021. Relationship of body weight at first calving with milk yield and herd life. Journal of Dairy Science, 104(1): 397–404.

Healy AA, House JK, Thomson PC. 2013. Artificial insemination field data on the use of sexed and conventional semen in nulliparous Holstein heifers. Journal of Dairy Science, 96(3): 1905–1914.

Heinrichs AJ. 1993. Raising dairy replacements to meet the needs of the 21st century. Journal of Dairy Science, 76(10): 3179–3187.

Hinman HR, Willett GS. 1997. Analyzing the economics of alternative methods for acquiring dairy replacement heifers. Farm Business Management Report, 1–28.

Kertz AF, Reutzel LF, Barton BA, Ely RL. 1997. Body weight, body condition score, and wither height of prepartum Holstein cows and birth weight and sex of calves by parity: A data base and summary. Journal of Dairy Science, 80(3): 525–529.

Kossaibati MA, Esslemont RJ. 1995. Wastage in dairy herds, Daisy Report No:4, Department of Agriculture, The University of Reading, Reading, UK.

Krpálková L, Syrůček J, Kvapilík J, Burdych J. 2017. Analysis of milk production, age at first calving, calving interval and economic parameters in dairy cattle management. Mljekarstvo: časopis za unaprjeđenje proizvodnje i prerade mlijeka, 67(1): 58–70.

Lapp R, Röttgen V, Viergutz T, Weitzel JM, Vernunft A. 2020. Induction of cystic ovarian follicles (COFs) in cattle by using an intrafollicular injection of indomethacin. Journal of Reproduction and Development, 66(2): 181–188.

Lim HJ, Yoon HB, Im SK. 2015. Relationship between growth pattern, age at first calving and next reproduction in Holstein heifers. Journal of Embryo Transfer, 30(4): 265–270.

Marquez HP, Goddard EW, Bench CJ. 2021. Business analysis of IRT, visual observation, and Ovsynch as breeding strategies in Alberta dairies. Theriogenology, 177: 73–83.

McClintock S, Beard K, Gilmour A, Goddard M. 2003. Relationships between calving traits in heifers and mature cows in Australia. Interbull Bulletin, 31: 102–106.

McManus C, Prescott E, Paludo GR, Bianchini E, Louvandini H, Mariante AS. 2009. Heat tolerance in naturalized Brazilian cattle breeds. Livestock Science, 120(3): 256–264.

National Research Council–NRC. 2001. Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle, Seventh ed. Natl Acad Press, Washington DC.

Nelson ST, Martin AD, Holmøy IH, Karlberg K, Nødtvedt A. 2016. A cross–sectional study of factors associated with birth weights of Norwegian beef calves. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 125: 59–65.

Nogalski Z. 2003. Relations between the course of parturition, body weights and measurements of Holstein–Friesian calves. Czech Journal Animal Science, 48(2): 51–60.

Orpin PG, Esslemont RJ. 2010. Culling and wastage in dairy herds: an update on incidence and economic impact in dairy herds in the UK. Cattle Practice, 18(3): 163–172.

SAS, 2002. User’s Guide. Statistics, Version 9th. Statistical Analysis System. SAS Inst., Inc., Cary, NC.

Sivkin NV, Strekozov NI. 2017. About age and live weight of heifers of dairy breeds at the time of the first insemination. Dairy and beef cattle breeding. 2: 3–7.

Stott GH. 1981. What is animal stress and how is it measured? Journal of Animal Science, 52(1): 150–153.

Tao S, Dahl GE. 2013. Invited review: Heat stress effects during late gestation on dry cows and their calves. Journal of Dairy Science, 96(7): 4079–4093.

Thatcher WW. 1974. Effects of Season, Climate, and Temperature on Reproduction and Lactation1. Journal of Dairy Science, 57(3): 360–368.

Tozer PR, Heinrich AJ. 2001. What affects the costs of raising replacement dairy heifers: a multiple–component analysis? Journal of Dairy Science, 84(8): 1836–1844

Wathes DC, Pollott GE, Johnson KF, Richardson H, Cooke JS. 2014. Heifer fertility and carry over consequences for life time production in dairy and beef cattle. Animal, 8(1): 91–104.

Weigel KA, Hoffman PC, Herring W, Lawlor Jr TJ. 2012. Potential gains in lifetime net merit from genomic testing of cows, heifers, and calves on commercial dairy farms. Journal of Dairy Science, 95(4): 2215–2225.

Yizengaw L. 2017. Review on estrus synchronization and its application in cattle. International Journal of Advanced Research Biological Sciences, 4(4): 67–76.

Zavadilová L, Štípková M. 2013. Effect of age at first calving on longevity and fertility traits for Holstein cattle. Czech Journal Animal Science, 58(2): 47–57.

Zwald A, Kohlman TL, Gunderson SL, Hoffman PC, Kriegl T. 2007. Economic costs and labor efficiencies associated with raising dairy herd replacements on Wisconsin dairy farms and custom heifer raising operations. University of Wisconsin–Extension, Madison, WI, USA.




How to Cite

Cengiz, M., Tohumcu, V., & Hayirli, A. (2021). Fertility Parameters in Heifers. International Journal of Veterinary and Animal Research (IJVAR), 4(3), 92–96. Retrieved from https://ijvar.org/index.php/ijvar/article/view/522



Research Articles