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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Management of Young Cows for Maximum Reproductive Performance

Author
item Geary, Thomas

Submitted to: Beef Improvement Federation Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 15, 2003
Publication Date: February 15, 2003
Citation: GEARY, T.W. MANAGEMENT OF YOUNG COWS FOR MAXIMUM REPRODUCTIVE PERFORMANCE. BEEF IMPROVEMENT FEDERATION PROCEEDINGS. 2003. p. 5-8.

Interpretive Summary: The most common problem that cow calf producers face is low rebreeding performance among two- and three-year old cows. The underlying reason that these cows have difficulty re-breeding is due to the need for additional nutrient requirements for growth in addition to lactation. There are several strategies to increase the re-breeding performance of these females including; 1. Make sure heifers are adequately developed (65% of mature weight) before the start of her first breeding season. 2. Consider breeding heifers with artificial insemination to calving ease proven sires during a short breeding season. 3. Plan to breed heifers approximately three weeks ahead of the cow herd to allow heifers more time after calving to resume cyclicity. 4. Provide early calving assistance when intervention is needed. 5. Provide first-calf heifers with the best nutritional program available during the last 50 days of gestation to be sure that they calve with a body condition score of 5 and continue to improve their nutritional program after calving. 6. Feed ionophores to cows after calving to improve feed utilization. 7. Consider exposing young cows to sterile bulls or androgenized cows during the last 30 days before the start of breeding. 8. Induce and/or synchronize estrous cycles in young cows even when natural service is to be used. 9. Consider early weaning during times of drought and cheap feed availability. Combinations of the above strategies may improve a producer's chances of getting a high percentage of young cows pregnant.

Technical Abstract: The most common problem that cow calf producers face is low rebreeding performance among two- and three-year old cows. The underlying reason that these cows have difficulty re-breeding is due to the need for additional nutrient requirements for growth in addition to lactation. There are several strategies to increase the re-breeding performance of these females including; 1. Make sure heifers are adequately developed (65% of mature weight) before the start of her first breeding season. 2. Consider breeding heifers with artificial insemination to calving ease proven sires during a short breeding season. 3. Plan to breed heifers approximately three weeks ahead of the cow herd to allow heifers more time after calving to resume cyclicity. 4. Provide early calving assistance when intervention is needed. 5. Provide first-calf heifers with the best nutritional program available during the last 50 days of gestation to be sure that they calve with a body condition score of 5 and continue to improve their nutritional program after calving. 6. Feed ionophores to cows after calving to improve feed utilization. 7. Consider exposing young cows to sterile bulls or androgenized cows during the last 30 days before the start of breeding. 8. Induce and/or synchronize estrous cycles in young cows even when natural service is to be used. 9. Consider early weaning during times of drought and cheap feed availability. Combinations of the above strategies may improve a producer's chances of getting a high percentage of young cows pregnant.

Last Modified: 9/21/2014
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