Effects of Lactation and Prenatal Androgenization on the Performance, Carcass Composition, and Longissimus Muscle Sensory Characteristics of Heifers in the Single-Calf Heifer System

G. N. Hermesmeyer, L. L. Berger, D. B. Faulkner, D. J. Kesler, T. G. Nash, D. M. Schaefer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Two experiments were conducted to evaluate feedlot performance, lactational characteristics, and carcass composition and quality of heifers and the performance of their calves in a single-calf heifer (SCH) system. In Exp. 1, 13 [10 lactating (L) and 3 nonlactating (NL)] prenatally androgenized (PA) heifers, born to cows implanted with testosterone propionate (TP) and 19 (13 L and 6 NL) control (C) heifers, born to nonimplanted cows, were used. Heifers were calved and the pairs were placed in feedlot pens to evaluate the effects of PA on feedlot performance and lactation. Heifers were fed an 85% concentrate diet and fed to a compositional endpoint of 1.1 cm of subcutaneous fat cover, at which point calves were weaned and heifers slaughtered approximately 12 h later. The NL heifers consumed 17.0% less (P<0.01) dry matter and were 30.8% more (P<0.01) efficient in feed conversion. When calf performance was included, overall feed efficiency of L heifers was 26.9% greater (P<0.05; 0.151 vs 0.119) than that of the NL feedlot heifers. Prenatal androgenization had no effect on heifer performance. Four percent fatcorrected milk yield averaged 7.79 and 5.62 kg/d for PA and C heifers, respectively. The NL heifers had 11.0% greater (P<0.01) marbling score and yield grades were 3.77 and 3.03 (P<0.05) for NL and L heifers, respectively. Livers (P<0.01) and kidneys (P<0.05) as a percentage of shrunk weight were heavier for L heifers than for NL heifers. Two carcasses were classified as hard-boned (C-maturity) and 74% received a USDA Choice grade. The L heifers tended (P<0.10) to have lower taste panel tenderness scores; however, shearforce was similar (P=0.81) for L and NL heifers. In Exp. 2, 24 Angus × Holstein heifers were utilized in the single-calf heifer system, similar to Exp. 1. Calves were weaned from their dam between d 64 and 89 postpartum. Heifers that had their calves early weaned (EW) gained 44.2% faster (P<0.01) and consumed 10.8% less (P<0.05) DM than L heifers. The EW heifers were 60.0% more (P<0.01) efficient than L heifers. However, when calf performance was included with heifer performance, L heifers were 23.7% more (P<0.05) efficient than EW heifers. The EW heifers had 18.9% heavier (P<0.01) hot carcasses than L heifers. Backfat thickness was 1.07 and 0.66 cm (P<0.01) for the EW and L heifers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-23
Number of pages10
JournalProfessional Animal Scientist
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 1999
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Androgens
  • Heifers
  • Lactation
  • Prenatal Period

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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