Enhanching the Survival Transferred Embryo
The current trend for the production of bio-fuel from agricultural products has reduced agricultural land available for the production of food and feed. A large portion of the land previously devoted for the production of grains for cattle feeding, is now dedicated to crops for ethanol production. Therefore, it is imperative to make changes and adjustments to improve production efficiency in the cattle industry through innovative research. Relevant biological factors to advance production in the livestock industry deal with reproduction efficiency and genetic improvement on traits associated with production.
Researchers at Alcorn State University are currently working on manipulating follicular dynamics to enhance reproduction efficiency of beef cattle. Additionally, an embryo transfer research project has been established since 2003 as a means to improve the genetic of beef herds. This project has as a second objective to improve retention rate of the transferred embryos with the use of hormonal protocols. It is believed that improving retention rate would consequently make small and medium size farmers more receptive to the use of the technique of embryo transfer. Embryonic retention remains one of the main concerns limiting application of embryo transfer within cattle producers. This concern is based on data reporting embryo losses of more than 40% during the first 18 days of gestation in cattle and sheep, and even higher during summer months.
It is difficult for our team to realistically evaluate the impact of this research. However, our studies have demonstrated that the use of progesterone supplementation at the moment of the transfer greatly enhances embryonic retention. Additionally, the strategy evaluated and recommended by our lab to supplement progesterone is now being used by many farmers practicing embryo transfer as a means to improving fertility and genetics of the herd.
Funding Source: Evans-Allen Grant Funds