Reproductive performance of dairy farms in western Buenos Aires province, Argentina
The objective of this study was to describe the reproductive performance of 23 grazing-based dairy farms from western Buenos Aires province in Argentina. The data set included data from the breeding season starting in May 2011 and ending in March 2012. Submission, conception, and pregnancy rates ranged from 42.4 to 70.2%, 20.1 to 44.9%, and 10.3 to 24.5%, respectively. No correlation was observed between conception and submission rates, suggesting that dairy farms with poor submission rates but with relatively high conception rates might increase pregnancy rates by simply putting more effort into increasing estrus detection and submission rates. Decreases in submission and conception rates were observed among 21-d cycles, indicating seasonal variation. A greater number of cows in estrus at the beginning of the breeding period could have facilitated estrus detection and therefore increased submission rates. In addition, restarting the breeding activities with timed artificial insemination programs may explain the highest submission rates at the beginning of the breeding period. A first decrease of 5.1 percentage units in conception rate was observed during the spring (October–November) and an additional decrease of 2.4 percentage units in conception rate was observed during the summer (January–February). Decreases in conception rates could be related to high intakes of high-protein diets, heat stress, or a combination of both. Attenuating heat stress during the summer may be critical for maximizing conception rates in grazing systems from western Buenos Aires province.