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ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Genetics and Animal Breeding » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #372900

Research Project: Developing a Systems Biology Approach to Enhance Efficiency and Sustainability of Beef and Lamb Production

Location: Genetics and Animal Breeding

Title: Mature size and other trait differences in cows selected for calving ease and growth

item Bennett, Gary
item Keele, John
item Thallman, Richard - Mark
item Snelling, Warren
item Freetly, Harvey
item Kuehn, Larry

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science Supplement
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/12/2020
Publication Date: 11/30/2020
Citation: Bennett, G.L., Keele, J.W., Thallman, R.M., Snelling, W.M., Freetly, H.C., Kuehn, L.A. 2020. Mature size and other trait differences in cows selected for calving ease and growth [abstract]. Journal of Animal Science Supplement. 98(Supplement 4):22.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Cows selected for heifer calving ease and yearling weight might also show changes in other important traits. Cattle from select and control lines within 7 populations were selected for reduced heifer calving difficulty EPD (select) or for average birth weight EPD (control) and for identical yearling weight EPD (select and control). Heifers randomly sampled within sire and born in the 4th and 5th of 7 years of selection were retained until 6 years of age with culling for once open and health, but not for other performance. Both lines were bred to the same bulls for calves born during the 3 years post-selection. Select line heifers were 7% lighter (-2.6 ± 0.5 kg, P <0.01) at birth and not different at weaning (0.2 ± 1.5 kg) or yearling ages (-2.1 ± 2.7 kg). Select cow mature weights estimated by Brody growth curves were 5.2% lighter (-32.9 ± 3.7 kg, P < 0.01) and heights were 2.2% shorter (-3.0 ± 0.7 cm, P < 0.01) than controls. Calf weaning weights were not different. Interactions between 1st calving select (bred to select bulls) and control heifers (bred to control bulls) vs. older cows (all bred to the same bulls) were significant for survival (P < 0.01) and calving assistance (P = 0.03). Select line heifers increased calf survival (86.8% vs. 70.9%) and decreases for calving assistance (16.4% vs. 39.3%) but differences in cows for these traits were negligible. Calves born per select cow exposed exceeded those born per control cow only for 2nd calving (7.1%, P = 0.04) possibly due to reduced calving difficulty as heifers. Selection for calving ease and yearling weight resulted in cows with smaller mature size and similar or better calving ease, calf survival, and calf weaning weight. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.