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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Heifer Development Within Three Seasons of Calving

Authors
item Grings, Elaine
item Short, R - RETIRED ARS
item Geary, Thomas
item Macneil, Michael

Submitted to: Research Update for Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: October 1, 2003
Publication Date: January 15, 2003
Repository URL: http://www.larrl.ars.usda.gov
Citation: GRINGS, E.E., SHORT, R.E., GEARY, T.W., MACNEIL, M.D. HEIFER DEVELOPMENT WITHIN THREE SEASONS OF CALVING. RESEARCH UPDATE FOR FORT KEOGH LIVESTOCK AND RANGE RESEARCH LABORATORY. p. 51. 2003.

Interpretive Summary: Development of replacement heifers is a critical component of a beef production enterprise. Altering seasons of calving and weaning to manipulate the match-up of cow nutrient requirements with forage quality dynamics affects calf weight at weaning and subsequent management of heifer calves in anticipation of the entry into the breeding herd. Altering harvested feed inputs into the replacement heifer program will impact cost of raising a heifer from weaning to breeding. The objective of this study was to evaluate the potential for decreasing harvested feed inputs into development programs for heifers born in different season and exposed to differing nutrient patterns from birth until first breeding. Season of calving and weaning age effects on initial weight carried through to weight at breeding but did not affect cyclicity of beef heifers. Post-weaning management affected proportion of heifers puberal by breeding even when weights at breeding were similar. While stair-step growth programs have successfully been used to raise heifers from weaning to breeding, it is important to provide adequate nutrition to these heifers during the slow growth phases so as not to limit overall rate of gain. Heifers from different calving times may have different forage sources available to them which results in different rates of gain and different growth patterns from weaning to breeding.

Technical Abstract: Development of replacement heifers is a critical component of a beef production enterprise. Altering seasons of calving and weaning to manipulate the match-up of cow nutrient requirements with forage quality dynamics affects calf weight at weaning and subsequent management of heifer calves in anticipation of the entry into the breeding herd. Altering harvested feed inputs into the replacement heifer program will impact cost of raising a heifer from weaning to breeding. The objective of this study was to evaluate the potential for decreasing harvested feed inputs into development programs for heifers born in different season and exposed to differing nutrient patterns from birth until first breeding. Season of calving and weaning age effects on initial weight carried through to weight at breeding but did not affect cyclicity of beef heifers. Post-weaning management affected proportion of heifers puberal by breeding even when weights at breeding were similar. While stair-step growth programs have successfully been used to raise heifers from weaning to breeding, it is important to provide adequate nutrition to these heifers during the slow growth phases so as not to limit overall rate of gain. Heifers from different calving times may have different forage sources available to them which results in different rates of gain and different growth patterns from weaning to breeding.

Last Modified: 12/28/2014
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