Hormone use for reproductive diseases and heat induction in relation to herd-level reproductive performance in Dutch dairy farms

Ardilasunu Wicaksono*, Bart H.P. van den Borne, Wilma Steeneveld, Tine van Werven, Henk Hogeveen

*Corresponding author for this work

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1 Citation (Scopus)


This ecological study aimed to associate hormone use for reproductive diseases and heat induction with reproductive performance at herd level. Hormone use, herd characteristics, and test-day recording data were obtained from 754 representative Dutch dairy farms belonging to five large veterinary practices from 2017 to 2019 (1679 observations in total). Hormone use was classified into prostaglandin, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), and progesterone, and was expressed at herd level as the annual number of hormone doses per 100 adult dairy cows. Hormone use was categorized into four levels (no usage, low, medium, and high use), following the 33rd and 66th percentiles of herds that applied them. Three herd-level reproductive performance indicators (calving interval, calving-to-1st insemination interval, number of inseminations per cow) were analyzed using multivariable General Estimating Equations models. The median annual total hormone use was 36.1 (mean=43.1; min=0.0; max=248.2) doses per 100 adult dairy cows in all herds while the median was 39.2 (mean=46.8; min=0.4; max=248.2) doses per 100 adult dairy cows among the user-herds. The median annual group-specific hormone use was 21.3 (mean=26.1; min 0.0; max=180.0), 11.0 (mean=15.3; min=0.0; max=127.0) and 0.0 (mean=1.8; min=0.0; max=40.3) doses per 100 adult dairy cows for prostaglandin, GnRH, and progesterone, respectively. The final statistical models identified that herds with a high hormone use had a calving interval and a calving-to-1st insemination interval that was 9.3 ± 2.6 and 16.4 ± 2.1 days shorter than that of non-user herds (424.0 ± 2.7 and 114.0 ± 2.1 days), respectively. Furthermore, high-user herds needed on average 0.3 ± 0.04 inseminations more to get their cows pregnant compared to non-user herds (1.83 ± 0.04 no. of inseminations per cow). Medium-user herds had a 6.5 ± 2.6 days shorter calving interval and a 12.0 ± 2.1 days shorter calving-to-1st insemination interval with 0.2 ± 0.04 additional inseminations per cow compared to non-user herds. Low-user herds had a 6.2 ± 2.7 days shorter calving interval and a 7.9 ± 2.2 days shorter calving-to-1st insemination interval compared to non-user herds. The model produced the same trend for prostaglandin and GnRH use, with the higher use being associated with a shorter calving interval, a shorter calving-to-1st insemination interval, and a higher insemination per cow number. For progesterone use the opposite effect was observed. In conclusion, using a large representative herd-level dataset, hormone use was associated with a better reproductive performance in terms of calving interval and calving-to-1st insemination interval but gave extra average number of inseminations per cow. It should be monitored how reproduction performance changes when striving for a more prudent hormone use.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105832
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • Calving interval
  • Fertility
  • GnRH
  • Insemination
  • Progesterone
  • Prostaglandin

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