The response of performance tested purebred Simmental heifers to various superovulatory treatments with ovine FSH was examined in two experiments. The heifers were 12 months old at embryo recovery, had average live weights of 468·4 kg (experiment 1) and 493·2 kg (experiment 2), and were fat (body condition score approx.4·0 to 4·5 units) at embryo recovery. In experiment 1, the effect of administering a total of 9·0 or 10·8 mg ovine FSH (Ovagen) administered as eight equal doses twice daily over 4 days was evaluated. In experiment 2, a total of 9·0 mg ovine FSH was administered either in equal doses in a level pattern or in declining doses twice daily over 4 days.
The response to the low, compared with the high, dose of ovine FSH in experiment 1 was 8·8 v. 10·5 ovulations (corpora lutea); 7·7 v. 7·7 totalova plus embryos recovered; 6·0 v. 4·1 viable embryos; 4·4 v. 3·1 grade 1 embryos (P > 0·05); and 1·7 v. 4·1 non-fertile ova(F < 0·01). In experiment 2, the response to the same total dose of ovine FSH administered in a level compared to a declining pattern was 8·5 v. 10·7 ovulations; 5·6 v. 9·6 total ova plus embryos; 3·1 v. 5·6 viable embryos; 2·5 v. 3·8 grade 1 embryos; and 1·7 v. 2·2 non-fertile ova. It was concluded that, although the differences between the treatments in the yields of viable and grade 1 embryos were not significantly different, there are practical and economic advantages to using a low rather than a high level of gonadotropin and there are no marked disadvantages in these areas to administering ovine FSH in a declining rather than a level pattern of doses.