Reproductive performance and variation in body weight during annual cycles for crossbred beef cows with different genetic potential for milk.

M. Montaño-Bermudez, M. K. Nielsen

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Abstract

Reproductive performance and body weights were studied in 81, 79 and 88 spring-calving beef cows from three groups, reasonably similar in growth rate and mature size but different in level of milk production (low [L] = Hereford x Angus, medium [M] = Red Poll x Angus and high [H] = Milking Shorthorn x Angus). Milk group did not have a significant effect on dates of first postpartum estrus and first and last breeding or in the intervals from calving to first estrus, to first breeding and to last breeding. A significant age-of-cow x milk-group interaction was found for pregnancy rate (PR, P less than .10) and calf-crop percentage (CC, P less than .05). In heifers, PR and CC were lowest for the L (85.6 and 73.6%) and highest for the M group (94.2 and 92.5%); in 2-yr-olds there were no differences, and in older cows, PR was highest for the L (94.8%) and lowest for the H group (91.6%), and there were no differences in CC. As estimated from Brody's growth curves, mature sizes were 530 +/- 5.7, 471 +/- 4.6 and 499 +/- 4.2 kg for the L, M and H groups, respectively. Of weights taken on four occasions during the year, October weight was the highest for all cows. February weight, minus the estimated gravid uterus weight, was the lowest for L and M cows, and May weight was lowest for H cows. Weight fluctuation over an annual cycle was greatest for the L group. Under these experimental conditions, cows in all groups were able to consume sufficient energy and gain or lose body reserves to achieve similar reproductive performance while differing in lactation performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2289-2296
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of animal science
Volume68
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1990

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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