The records of 1397 cows calving in the spring were collected in the years 1979 to 1984. They were from 638 Angus and 759 Hereford × Friesian cows, and were used to examine the dependencies of post-partum anoestrous interval (ppai), length of oestrous cycle after calving, and conception rate to each oestrus after calving.
Two-year-old cows had longer ppai (P < 0·05) than older cows (76 v. 72 days), and Hereford × Friesian cows had shorter (P < 0·05) ppai than Angus cows (68 v. 72 days). Cows due to begin calving on 8 August (early calving) had longer (P < 0·01) ppai than cows due to begin calving on 19 September (71 v. 55 days).
The linear regression between ppai and calving date (−0·60) did not differ between years, nor between early and late calving. Non-parametric regressions showed that the dependence between ppai and calving date was linear between plus or minus 20 days of the mean ppai in both early- and late-calving herds. Outside these limits variability of ppai increased and there was no relationship with calving date.
The length of the first oestrous cycle after calving was 22 days in 2-year-old cows and 24 days in older cows. Second and third oestrous cycles after calving were 20 days for all breeds and age classes. There was a correlation of −0·41 between the ppai and the length of the first oestrous cycle after anoestrum. There was no significant deviation from normality of ppai or the succeeding post-partum oestrous cycle lengths.
The conception rate to the first oestrus after calving was significantly lower (P < 0·01) than for later oestrous periods. The conception rate to first post-partum oestrus showed dependence on the ppai, logit regressions showing a 0·005 to 0·01 proportional improvement in conception at first oestrus per day increase in ppai.
The significance of these results to the construction of mathematical models of reproduction in the beef cow is discussed.