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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Effects of Feeding Whole Sunflower Seeds Before Artificial Insemination of Beef Heifers

Authors
item Funston, R - MSU EXTENSION
item Geary, Thomas

Submitted to: Research Update for Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: October 1, 2002
Publication Date: January 15, 2003
Repository URL: http://www.larrl.ars.usda.gov
Citation: FUNSTON, R.N., GEARY, T.W. EFFECTS OF FEEDING WHOLE SUNFLOWER SEEDS BEFORE ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION OF BEEF HEIFERS. RESEARCH UPDATE FOR FORT KEOGH LIVESTOCK AND RANGE RESEARCH LABORATORY. p. 45. 2003.

Interpretive Summary: Proper nutritional inputs are important for adequate growth and development of replacement heifers to ensure attainment of puberty and early conception in the breeding season. Yearling heifers that conceive early in the breeding season have greater lifetime productivity than heifers that conceive later in the breeding season. Replacement heifer development can be a major cost to a beef cattle operation. Producers need to minimize inputs yet achieve acceptable pregnancy rates. Heifer development systems are generally forage based; however, nonstructural carbohydrates, such as cereal grains, are generally required at some point in the feeding period to achieve weight gains needed for attainment of puberty before the breeding season. Supplemental lipids have been used to increase energy density of a ration and avoid potential negative effects on forage digestion associated with starch supplementation. Supplemental lipids may also have direct positive effects on reproduction in beef cattle independent of its energy contribution. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effects of supplemental dietary fat on estrous response and fertility in beef heifers. There was no interaction of location and treatment in preliminary analyses; therefore, data were pooled across locations to test differences in fertility among all three treatments. Feeding sunflower seeds for either 30 or 60 days before AI did not affect the 72-hour estrous response or pregnancy rate. The 72-hour estrous response was 71% in the present study. Pregnancy rate by location and treatment are presented in Table 1. Pregnancy rate for heifers detected in estrus was 68% compared to 33% for heifers inseminated at 72-hours after PGF. Regardless, no differences in final pregnancy rate were detected. Heifers in the present study were all in adequate body condition (BCS 5 to 6). Cattle experiencing a greater nutritional challenge appear to be more responsive to supplemental nutrients. There may have been a positive response to fat supplementation had the heifers been nutritionally stressed. In summary, feeding 2 lbs of whole sunflower seeds for either 60 or 30 days before AI did not improve estrous response or pregnancy rate in beef heifers in good body condition.

Technical Abstract: Proper nutritional inputs are important for adequate growth and development of replacement heifers to ensure attainment of puberty and early conception in the breeding season. Yearling heifers that conceive early in the breeding season have greater lifetime productivity than heifers that conceive later in the breeding season. Replacement heifer development can be a major cost to a beef cattle operation. Producers need to minimize inputs yet achieve acceptable pregnancy rates. Heifer development systems are generally forage based; however, nonstructural carbohydrates, such as cereal grains, are generally required at some point in the feeding period to achieve weight gains needed for attainment of puberty before the breeding season. Supplemental lipids have been used to increase energy density of a ration and avoid potential negative effects on forage digestion associated with starch supplementation. Supplemental lipids may also have direct positive effects on reproduction in beef cattle independent of its energy contribution. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effects of supplemental dietary fat on estrous response and fertility in beef heifers. There was no interaction of location and treatment in preliminary analyses; therefore, data were pooled across locations to test differences in fertility among all three treatments. Feeding sunflower seeds for either 30 or 60 days before AI did not affect the 72-hour estrous response or pregnancy rate. The 72-hour estrous response was 71% in the present study. Pregnancy rate by location and treatment are presented in Table 1. Pregnancy rate for heifers detected in estrus was 68% compared to 33% for heifers inseminated at 72-hours after PGF. Regardless, no differences in final pregnancy rate were detected. Heifers in the present study were all in adequate body condition (BCS 5 to 6). Cattle experiencing a greater nutritional challenge appear to be more responsive to supplemental nutrients. There may have been a positive response to fat supplementation had the heifers been nutritionally stressed. In summary, feeding 2 lbs of whole sunflower seeds for either 60 or 30 days before AI did not improve estrous response or pregnancy rate in beef heifers in good body condition.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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