Effect of different thawing methods for frozen bull semen and additional factors on the conception rate of dairy cows in artificial insemination
Recommendations for thawing methods of frozen bovine semen vary and clear data evaluating their influence on fertility are contradictory. In this respect, the aim of this study was to investigate the influence of different thawing methods of frozen bull semen in artificial insemination (AI) of dairy cows on conception rate (CR) under practical conditions and to determine further possible influencing factors on the success of AI in order to provide recommendations for practical use. From 2017 to 2019, 3393 AI were performed in a dairy farm in eastern Germany, distributed randomly into three groups of thawing methods: group A: n = 426 (11 s, 38 °C water bath); group B: n = 348 (35 s, 38 °C water bath); group C: n = 385 (30 s, "in the cow"). We observed no significant difference in CR from the general linear mixed model between the thawing methods (method A/B/C, 28.5%/26.6%/24.7%), but data analysis revealed effects of lactation number, month of insemination and AI method (natural heat vs. OvSynch) on CR. Based on our data, no clear recommendation for semen thawing method in dairy reproduction can be made. Our findings suggest that the main factors of influencing reproductive performance in the field are represented by the cow-side of fertility, e.g., insemination in natural heat, lactation number and season of insemination. Therefore, dairy farmers should focus more on cow conditions to further improve reproductive performance.