27 September 1996

Progesterone booster

EARLY embryo loss could be avoided by boosting progesterone when natural levels are low five days after insemination.

According to Nottingham Universitys Dr George Mann about 30% of embryos formed are lost within 25 days of insemination.

The timing and level of progesterone produced by the dam affects the embryos development and its ability to produce the interferon signal needed to prevent its mother beginning her next oestrous cycle. The sooner high progesterone levels are produced the better.

"In the short term, radical hormone therapy using strategic progesterone supplementation may help manipulate the hormone environment," said Dr Mann. This could increase the growth of the embryo and improve the strength of its interferon signal so that the cow maintains her pregnancy.

In the longer term, genetic selection on the basis of hormone profiles could also be effective.n