Tropical Animal Health and Production

, Volume 51, Issue 7, pp 1963–1968 | Cite as

Reproductive efficiency in naturally serviced and artificially inseminated beef cows

  • S. WashayaEmail author
  • B. Tavirimirwa
  • S. Dube
  • G. Sisito
  • G. Tambo
  • S. Ncube
  • X. Zhakata
Regular Articles


A study was conducted to compare conception rates in 71 Tuli and 86 Afrikander beef cattle bred using either artificial insemination (AI) or the bull. Animals were bred using either artificial insemination or natural service at Matopos Research Station. Animals were grouped into three groups of heifers (parity 0; P0), second calvers (parity 1; P1) and mature cows (parity 2; P2) before being randomly assigned to one of the two breeding methods. A binary logistic regression was used for statistical analysis where breeding method (AI vs natural service) was the treatment factor and conception rate was the measured response while breed, parity and last calving date were non-treatment factors. No significant differences were observed in conception rates between breeds (P > 0.05). However, the method of breeding animals, parity and calving interval affected (P < 0.05) conception rates. The breeding method, parity and calving interval had a positive Kendall’s tau-b correlation coefficients to conception. More animals were pregnant when AI (77.6%) was used compared with natural mating (56.79%). Conception rates were significantly lower (P < 0.05) in C1 compared with C2 cattle. The odds ratio for breeding method and parity are positive and significant (P < 0.05). In conclusion, the study confirms that artificial inseminated animals had similar conception rates to naturally serviced animals for both Tuli and Afrikander breeds. As such, artificial insemination technology can be used to complement or substitute natural service in indigenous cattle’s of Zimbabwe.


Indigenous cattle Breeding method Pregnancy rates Smallholder 



The authors appreciate input by Matopos Research Institute Lucedale Section Staff, in particular Mr. Kameron Moyo for his resilience during the execution of the study.

Funding information

The study was financially supported by Stichting Nederlandse Vrijwilligers (SNV) Zimbabwe (Grant number 104-86-3-1) under the auspices of a matching grant awarded to Matopos Research Institute.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Assan, N., 2012. Genetic improvement and utilization of indigenous cattle breeds for beef production in Zimbabwe: past, present and future prospects, Scientific Journal of Agriculture, 1, 1–13Google Scholar
  2. Chatikobo, P., 2017. Proceedings from a Cattle artificial insemination and management course held at Matopos Research Institute, Bulawayo 13–17 February 2017.Google Scholar
  3. Chimonyo, M., Kusina, N.T., Hamudikuwanda, H., Nyoni, O., Ncube, I., 2000. Effects of dietary supplementation and work stress on ovarian activity in non-lactating Mashona cows in a smallholder farming area of Zimbabwe, Animal Science 70, 317–323CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Fu, C., Zhou, Y., 2002. Measures for raising conception rate in dairy cattle. Journal of China Dairy Cattle, 1, 37–39Google Scholar
  5. Hagreveas, S.K., Bruce, D., Beffa, L.M., 2004. Disaster mitigation options for livestock production in communal farming systems in Zimbabwe. Background information and literature review. ICRISAT and FAO Rome, Italy 56pp.Google Scholar
  6. Homann, S., van Rooyen, A., Moyo, T., Nengomasha, Z., 2007. Goat production and marketing: Baseline information for semi-arid Zimbabwe, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics: Bulawayo.Google Scholar
  7. Kaziboni, S., Kusina, N.T., Sibanda, S., Makuza, S., Nyoni, O., Bhebhe, E., 2004. Performance of artificial insemination in smallholder dairies of Nharira-Lancashire in Zimbabwe. Livestock Research for Rural Development. Vol. 16, Art. #25.Retrieved August 8, 2018, from Google Scholar
  8. Lemaster, J.W., Yelich, J.V., Kempfer, J.R., Fullenwider, J.K., Barnett, C.L., Fanning, M.D., Selph, J.F., 2001. Effectiveness of GnRH plus prostaglandin F2α for estrus synchronization in cattle of Bos indicus breeding, Journal of Animal Science, 79, 309–316.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. MacGregor, R.G., Case, N.H., 2000. The effects of maternal calving date and calving interval on growth performance of beef calves, South African Journal of Animal Science, 30, 70–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Mavedzenge, B.Z., Mahenehene, J., Murimbarimba, F., Scoones, I., Wolmer, W., 2006. Changes in the livestock sector in Zimbabwe following land reform: the case of Masvingo province. Livestock Research and Rural Development Accessed 17 May 2011
  11. Moyo, S., Swanepoel, F.J.C., Rege, J.E.O., 1996. Evaluation of indigenous, exotic and crossbred cattle for beef production in a semi-arid environment: reproductive performance and cow productivity, Proceeding of Australian Society of Animal Production, 21, 204–206Google Scholar
  12. Mugisha, A., Kayiizi, V., Owiny, D., Mburu, J., 2014. Breeding services and the factors influencing their use on smallholder dairy farms in central Uganda. Veterinary medicine international vol. 2014, Article ID 169380, 6 pages.Google Scholar
  13. Mukasa-Mugerwa, E., Tegegne, A., Mesfin, T., Telku, Y., 1991. Reproductive efficiency of Bos indicus cows under artificial insemination management in Ethiopia, Animal Reproduction Science Journal, 24, 63–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ndebele, J.J., Muchenje, V., Mapiye, C., Chimonyo, M., Musemwa, L., Ndlovu, T., 2007. Cattle breeding management practices in the Gwayi smallholder farming area of South-Western Zimbabwe. Livestock Research for Rural Development. Volume 19, Article #183. Retrieved August 8, 2018, from
  15. Nimbkar, C., Gibson, J. ,Okeyo, M., Boettene, P., Soelknor J., 2008. Sustainable use and genetic Improvement. Animal Genetic Resources Information AGRI, 42, 49–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Patel, G k., Haque, N., Madhavatar, M., Chaudhari, AK., Patel, D k., Bhalakiya, N., Jamnesha, N., Patel, P., Kumar, R., 2017. Artificial insemination: A tool to improve livestock productivity. Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry 1: 307–313Google Scholar
  17. Perry, G., 2005. Factors affecting breeding success. Range Beef Cow Symposium. Paper 37. (accessed 10 October 2018)
  18. Short, R.E., Adams, D.C., 1988. Nutritional and hormonal interrelationships in beef cattle reproduction, Canadian Journal of Animal Science, 68, 29–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Tada, O., Masamha, B., Gadzirayi, C.T., 2010. Efficacy of crestar (progesterone analogue) and prosolvin (prostaglandin analogue) in heat synchronization of indigenous smallholder dairy and commercial beef cows. Electronic Journal of Environmental, Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 9(2), 385–394Google Scholar
  20. Toleng, L., Yusuf, SH., Hamid, M., 2001. The use of progesterone RIA to increase efficiency and quality of artificial insemination services of beef cattle in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Radioimmunoassay and Related Techniques to improve artificial insemination programmes for cattle for cattle under tropical and subtropical conditions IAEA-TECDOC-1220, IAEA, Vienna pp37–43Google Scholar
  21. Valergakis, G.E., Arsenos, G., Banos, G., 2007. Comparison of artificial insemination and natural service cost effectiveness in dairy cattle. Animal, 1(2) 293–300.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Woldu, T., Giorgis, Y.T., Haile, A., 2011. Factors affecting conception rate in artificially inseminated cattle under farmers’ condition in Ethiopia, Journal of Cell and Animal Biology, 5(16), 334–338CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Xu, Z, Burton, L., 2003. Reproduction performance of dairy cows in New Zealand. Livestock improvement co-operation. Proceedings of a Seminar of the Society of Dairy Cattle Veterinarians of New Zealand Veterinary Association, 17, pp. 23–41.Google Scholar
  24. Xu, Z.Z., McKnight, D.J., Vishwanath, R., Pitt, C.J., Burton, L.J., 1998. Estrus detection using radiotelemetry or visual observation and tail painting for dairy cows on pasture. Journal of Dairy Science, 81, 2890–2896.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Washaya
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • B. Tavirimirwa
    • 3
  • S. Dube
    • 4
  • G. Sisito
    • 3
  • G. Tambo
    • 3
  • S. Ncube
    • 3
  • X. Zhakata
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Agriculture, College of Health, Agriculture and Natural SciencesAfrica UniversityMutareZimbabwe
  2. 2.Faculty of Science and Agriculture. Department of Livestock and Pasture ScienceUniversity of Fort HareAliceSouth Africa
  3. 3.Department of Research and Specialist ServicesMatopos Research InstituteBulawayoZimbabwe
  4. 4.Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources ManagementMidlands State UniversityGweruZimbabwe

Personalised recommendations