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ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Nutrition, Growth and Physiology » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #326715

Research Project: Improved Nutrient Efficiency of Beef Cattle and Swine

Location: Nutrition, Growth and Physiology

Title: Feed intake and production efficiency of beef cows

item Freetly, Harvey
item Kuehn, Larry
item Thallman, Richard - Mark
item Snelling, Warren

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science Supplement
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/21/2016
Publication Date: 7/11/2016
Citation: Freetly, H.C., Kuehn, L.A., Thallman, R.M., Snelling, W.M. 2016. Feed intake and production efficiency of beef cows [abstract]. Journal of Animal Science. 94 (E-Supplement 5):114.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The objective of this study was to determine the relationships between DMI and growth as heifers and cows and calves weaned, weight of calf weaned, and milk production. Cows born in 1999-2001and sired by industry AI bulls (Angus, Hereford, Simmental, Limousin, Charolais, Gelbvieh, and Red Angus) and with Angus, Hereford, and MARC III (composite) dams were randomly mated to F1 bulls from these same crosses (with the exception of MARCIII dams) resulting in heifers (F12) that were 2-, 3-, and 4-breed crosses. Heifers (F12) born in 4 consecutive years (2004-2007) were retained and bred to produce four successive calf crops, calving first at 2 yr of age. Individual feed intake and BW gain were measured for an 84-d period between weaning and first breeding on F12 heifers born in years 2005-2007 (n = 220, 249, and 218, respectively). At 5 yr of age, F12 cows were not bred. Twenty-one d after weaning, F12 cows (n = 158, 179,154, and 131, respectively, for birth years 2004-2007) were individually offered 120 kcal ME/kg BW0.75·d-1 in Calan gates for 112 d, and then given ad libitum access for an additional 98 d. Milk production at approximately 100 d after calving was measured using a 16-h weigh-suckle-weigh at 2- and 5-yr of age. Heritability and genetic correlations were estimated with MTDFREML. The heritability for Heifer DMI (0.69) and ADG (0.49) were greater than zero (P < 0.01). The heritability for Cow DMI (0.48), ADG (0.46), and 5-yr-old milk production (0.41) were greater than zero (P < 0.01). There were positive genetic correlations (P < 0.01) between heifer DMI and heifer ADG (0.89), cow DMI (0.65), cow ADG (0.73) average weaning weight of calves (0.52), and total calf weight weaned (0.23). There were positive genetic correlations (P < 0.01) between cow DMI and average weaning weight of calves (0.28), and total calf weight weaned (0.21). In conclusion, there are genetic correlations between DMI and total weight of calf weaned; also, heifer intake does offer some opportunity to select for intake in mature cows. Selection for reduced DMI may have a negative effect on total BW of calf weaned.