The aim of this field study was to evaluate the effect of supplemental feeding with glycerol (GLY) or propylene glycol (PG) during early lactation on the fertility of Swedish dairy cows. Within 17 commercial dairy herds, 798 cows were randomized to three groups that were daily fed supplements with 450 g GLY, 300 g PG or nothing (control, C). The supplements were given twice daily during 0–21 days in milk as a top dress on concentrates. Data on calving date, insemination dates, gynaecological examinations, as well as breed, parity and monthly milk yield were collected. From a subset of 308 cows in seven herds, milk samples for progesterone analysis were taken twice weekly and used to determine the time for onset of luteal activity. The effects of supplements on the intervals from calving to first luteal activity (FLA), first AI (FAI) and conception (CON), respectively, were analysed using semi-parametric survival models (Cox proportional hazards models) controlling for the effect of parity, breed, calving season, milk yield and the clustering effect of herd. There was no difference in time to FLA between the cows in group C and in group GLY or PG. No differences in time to FAI or in time to CON were found between cows in group PG and group C. However, cows in the GLY group tended to get their FAI later compared with cows in the control group but without at subsequent delaying of time to CON.
Reproduction in Domestic Animals, 2012, Vol 47, Issue 6