Increased postweaning gain of beef heifers enhances fertility and milk production.

D. D. Buskirk, Dan B Faulkner, F. A. Ireland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

59 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Four hundred fifty-two (452) weanling heifer calves (192 +/- 23 kg) were used to determine the effect of postweaning weight gain on subsequent reproductive performance and lactation. Heifers grazed stockpiled tall fescue pastures and were fed a high (H) or low (L) amount of ground corn supplement (3.68 and 2.99 kg/[animal.d], respectively) during a postweaning treatment period of 136 d. Postweaning gain of heifers receiving L and H was .43 and .62 kg/d, respectively. These treatments resulted in a range of postweaning gain from .07 to 1.17 kg/d. Heifers receiving H were 26 kg heavier (P < .01), had .15 cm more fat thickness (P < .01), 5% greater pelvic area (P < .01), and tended (P = .08) to have greater hip height than heifers receiving L at yearling. More heifers in the H group were pubertal before the start of the breeding season (70.9 vs 61.3%) (P < .05). No significant differences were found in pregnancy rate or first-service calving rate between treatment groups. Mean milk production was 10% greater for H- than for L-fed heifers (P < .01) and resulted in heavier calves at 54, 104, and 153 d of age (P < .05). Regression analysis revealed that as weaning weight and postweaning gain increased, so did the probability for reaching puberty before the breeding season. Increasing weaning weight also increased the probability of calving to the first AI service. As heifer weaning weight and postweaning gain increased, subsequent milk production also increased. Increasing postweaning weight gain of lightweight heifers from .07 to 1.17 kg/d increased both reproductive and lactation performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)937-946
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Volume73
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1995
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

beef cattle
Weight Gain
Fertility
heifers
milk production
Milk
Weaning
Lactation
Breeding
weaning weight
Pregnancy Rate
Puberty
Zea mays
Hip
Therapeutics
Fats
breeding season
Regression Analysis
lactation
weight gain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

Cite this

Increased postweaning gain of beef heifers enhances fertility and milk production. / Buskirk, D. D.; Faulkner, Dan B; Ireland, F. A.

In: Journal of Animal Science, Vol. 73, No. 4, 04.1995, p. 937-946.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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