Early embryo loss is the major cause of reproductive failure in cattle. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of changes in feed intake around the time of insemination on systemic progesterone and on embryo development and survival and in cattle. Nutrition treatments were designed to provide 0.8 times (Low, L) or twice (High, H) maintenance energy requirements. Oestrus was synchronised in heifers (n=314) using two injections of prostaglandin (PG; 50 μg Cloprostenol, Estrumate) administered 10 days apart. On the day of oestrus following the first PG injection, heifers were randomly allocated to L or H (pre-AI). At the oestrus following the second PG injection, heifers were inseminated with semen from the same Limousin bull and on the following day were randomly allocated to either L or H until embryo recovery at day 8 (n=25), 14 (n=57) or 16 (n=71) or pregnancy diagnosis at day 30 (n=161). Hence there were four nutrition treatments; L-L, L-H, H-H and H-L. There was no significant difference in embryo survival rate determined at day 14, 16 or 30 and so the data were combined for analysis. Overall embryo survival rate was significantly lower (P<0.001) in H-L (0.37) than L-L (0.70), L-H (0.71; P<0.001) or H-H (0.68; P<0.01) treatment groups. Nutrition treatment did not affect systemic progesterone measured on days 4, 5, 6 or 7 of the pre- or post-AI oestrous cycle. The total cell number of 8-day-old blastocysts was not significantly affected by nutrition treatment neither was the length, diameter or estimated total protein content of 14-day-old embryos. Reducing energy intake immediately after AI reduced embryo survival rate but there was no evidence that this effect was mediated through changes in systemic progesterone.