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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Livestock and Range Research Laboratory (LARRL)

Title: Supplementation strategy during late gestation alters steer progeny health in the feedlot without affecting cow performance

item Mulliniks, J -
item Mathis, C -
item Cox, S -
item Petersen, Mark

Submitted to: Animal Feed Science And Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 15, 2013
Publication Date: November 21, 2013
Citation: Mulliniks, J.T., Mathis, C.P., Cox, S.H., Petersen, M.K. 2013. Supplementation strategy during late gestation alters steer progeny health in the feedlot without affecting cow performance. Animal Feed Science And Technology. 185:126-132.

Interpretive Summary: Supplementation costs can be minimized by reducing the amount of supplement required per animal and frequency of pasture delivery. In this study, late gestation nutritional strategy did not change cow performance (body weight, body condition score, or pregnancy rate) or calf growth through the feedlot. However, our findings indicate a relationship between type of protein during late gestation and calf health and profitability in the feedlot. This study indicated that calves born from dams receiving a self-fed high ruminally undegradable protein supplement, consumed at relatively low quantities, were treated less for sickness, had decreased death loss, and had increased feedlot net profit. Thus, indicating that high ruminally undegradable protein supplements during late gestation may have positive effects on calf health and performance. Considering the late gestation supplementation costs and profitability in the feedlot, feeding a self-fed high ruminally undegradable protein during late gestation appears to be advantageous for produces while lowering winter feed costs, decreasing calf feedlot morbidity, and increasing feedlot profitability.

Technical Abstract: Implementation of minimal supplemental strategies during late gestation has been reported to potentially increase post-weaning progeny health in the feedlot. Therefore, to investigate the effects of nutritional management strategies during late gestation on cow and subsequent steer progeny performance, 103 gestating cows grazing dormant winter range were utilized at Corona Range and Livestock Research Center, Corona, NM. Cows were supplemented with 1) a 36% CP supplement (positive control; CON) fed 3 times/wk, 2) self-fed supplement comprised of 50% corn gluten meal and 50% mineral (28% CP, SMP), or 3) cows fed CSM according to perceived environmental stress (NS; negative control) by ranch management. Cows were supplemented from December until two weeks prior to calving for 60 d. Supplement consumption was 0.45, 0.17, and 0.00 kg/d for CON, SMP, and NS. After weaning, steers were preconditioned for 45 d and were received and treated as custom fed commercial cattle at a feedlot in mid-November each year. Cow BW and BCS was not influenced (P > 0.55) by late gestation management strategy throughout the study. Prepartum supplementation strategies did not influence (P = 0.75) subsequent pregnancy rates. Calf BW at weaning, in the feedlot, and HCW was not different (P > 0.52) among dams prepartum treatment. However, steers from dams fed CSM and NS had a greater percentage treated for sickness than SMP steers (P = 0.05). Death loss in the feedlot was greater (P = 0.02) for steers from CSM dams. Steer carcass traits and quality was not different (P > 0.17) among prepartum management strategies. Net profit in the feedlot was decreased (P = 0.05) in steers from CSM dams compared to steers from SMP and NS dams. This study indicates that feeding a high RUP self-fed supplement during late gestation maintains cow performance and increases calf feedlot health and profitability in the feedlot compared to a traditional hand-fed, oilseed-based supplement.

Last Modified: 4/17/2014