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Prepartum supplementation effects on growth and fertility in Bos indicus-cross cows

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Fordyce, G., Fitzpatrick, L.A., Mullins, T.J., Cooper, N.J., Reid, D.J. and Entwistle, K.W. (1997) Prepartum supplementation effects on growth and fertility in Bos indicus-cross cows. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 37 (2). pp. 141-149. ISSN 0816-1089


Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1071/EA96015


Three experiments were conducted in the dry tropics of north Australia using Bos indicus-cross cows. Cows in mid–late pregnancy were either unsupplemented during the late dry season or offered ad libitum (2 kg/day) molasses with 7.4% urea (w/w) (M8U) or cottonseed meal (1 kg/day) for up to 54 days commencing 2 months before the start of the calving season. Supplementation reduced weight loss in experiments 1 and 2 (P<0.05), but had no significant effect on weight or body condition in experiment 3. Supplementation had no effect on subsequent calf growth or cow lactation yields.
Following early wet season rains in experiment 1, 9 and 49% of cows were ovulating 40 and 80 days post-partum, respectively, with no effect of supplementation. In experiment 2, 10 and 100% of cows had ovulated by 60 and 200 days post-partum, respectively. At any time between 80 and 180 days post-partum, supplemented cows were more likely to be cycling (P<0.05), independent of supplementation effects on weight or body condition. The average post-partum interval to oestrus was 30 days less in cows supplemented for 42 days (P = 0.08).

In experiment 3, pregnancy rates in 1/2 and 3/4 Brahmans supplemented with M8U for 54 days (MU54) or whose calves were weaned at 2–3 months of age (WEAN) were 14% higher in the latter 2 months of mating than in cows supplemented for less than 40 days. Good seasonal conditions resulted in high pregnancy rates in all mature 5/8 Brahmans; when not weaned early, their average calving to conception interval (CCI) was 54 days (s.e. = 8.5 days). Pregnancy rates of first-lactation 5/8 Brahmans (average CCI of 125 days) supplemented for 39 days or less and weaned when calves averaged 6 months of age were 14–32% lower between 2 and 9 months post-partum than in contemporaries in the MU54 or WEAN treatment groups.

It was concluded that dry-season supplementation of mid- to late-pregnant Bos indicus-cross cows with an energy concentrate for 42–54 days (‘spike’ feeding) may reduce post-partum anoestrus intervals via a mechanism which is not dependent on the effects on weight or body condition.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Animal culture > Breeding and breeds
Animal culture > Cattle
Animal culture > Feeds and feeding. Animal nutrition
Live Archive:20 Mar 2024 22:34
Last Modified:20 Mar 2024 22:34

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