The efficacy of a protocol for the synchronization of ovulation followed by timed Al (OVSYNCH) was compared with a reproductive management protocol based on induction of oestrus after rectal palpation using PGF2alpha on a commercial dairy farm in Brandenburg, Germany. Cows in the OVSYNCH group (n = 309) were treated between 62 and 68 days in milk (DIM) with 0.02 mg of buserelin (GnRH analogue) intramuscularly (i.m.). Seven days later 0.75 mg of tiaprost (PGF2alpha-analogue) were administered i.m. to regress the corpus luteum (C.I.). All cows received a second treatment with GnRH another 48 hrs later and were inseminated 16 to 20 hrs after the second GnRH-treatment (72 to 78 DIM). Cows in the PGF group (n = 302) were examined by rectal palpation between 69 and 75 DIM. Cows with a C.I. received 0.75 mg of tiaprost to induce oestrus. Cows were inseminated on observed oestrus. Cows not inseminated within 14 days after treatment were re-examined between 83 and 89 DIM. For both groups, the voluntary waiting period was set at 72 DIM. Service rate was higher (86.4 vs. 63.2 %, P < 0.05), days to first service (77 +/- 11 vs. 86 +/- 19 days, P < 0.001) and days open (102 +/- 34 vs. 109 +/- 35 days, P < 0.05) were shorter in the OVSYNCH group. First service conception rate (40.3 vs. 42.4 %), conception rate to all services (37.9 vs. 40.0 %) and the proportion of pregnant cows at 200 DIM were similar in the OVSYNCH evaluation for the total costs per pregnancy in 71 different cost scenarios showed only slight differences between the groups. Mean costs per pregnancy were euro 235.43 and euro 235.08 for the OVSYNCH and the PGF group, respectively. Quality of oestrus as assessed by the Al technician did not reveal a relationship to conception rate after OVSYNCH and timed Al. However, swelling, hyperaemia and a moist vestibulum were positively associated with conception rate.