Evaluation of Breed Effects in Beef Cattle on Hornfly Infestation
Forage and Livestock Production Unit
2013 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The objective of this cooperative research project is to evaluate the effects of breed of dam on hornfly infestation in beef cattle; the relationships of hornfly infestation to milk production and quality, serum cortisol, and serum prolactin; and the relationship of the promoter region of the prolactin gene to variables measured in this study.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
The project will consist of 48 crossbred cows sired by Bonsmara, Brangus, Charolais, Gelbvieh, Hereford, and Romosinuano sires with approximately 8 cows per sire breed. Cows will be managed on tallgrass native prairie throughout lactation. Fly counts will be done on pasture prior to milking and fly control treatment every 28 days starting in late May and continuing for 6 milkings or early October. Two native pastures will be used in this research, with cows and pastures located at the USDA Grazinglands Research Laboratory at El Reno, OK, and will be stocked at the rate of 6 acres per animal. Fly control will be done every 28 days prior to milking. Cows will be milked using single cow milking machines, and blood samples will be taken at each milking via jugular venipuncture. Data will be analyzed as a repeated measures design with the main unit breed of cow and subunit time of lactation.
Data collection continued on fly counts, cow behavior, and milk production. Genotyping of the cows and statistical analyses has been completed. Manuscripts are being prepared. In general, fly counts varied over time during the calving cycle and were lowest in May and peaked in August. Breed of cow and fly load interacted to influence milk yield such that Gelbveih and Bonsmara produced the most milk, but were most affected by flies. Composition of milk was also affected. Parasite resistance or tolerance may need to be included in future multi-trait selection programs to help overcome pest resistance to chemical methods.