Influence of prepartum body condition score change on reproduction in multiparous beef cows calving in moderate body condition
Morrison, D.G.; Spitzer, J.C.; Perkins, J.L.
Journal of Animal Science 77(5): 1048-1054
ISSN/ISBN: 0021-8812 PMID: 10340569 DOI: 10.2527/1999.7751048x
Multiparous, spring-calving beef cows (n = 250) were used to determine whether large changes in body energy reserves during mid- to late gestation influenced subsequent reproductive performance of cows calving in moderate body condition. In three states, cows were blocked by BW and body condition score (BCS; 1 = emaciated to 9 = obese) then allotted to receive either a high or low plane of nutrition from late summer to early winter over a 3-yr period. This generated an array of BCS by the beginning of the last trimester of pregnancy when cows were grouped by BCS as follows: Group 1, BCS < or = 4; Group 2, BCS of 5 or 6; and Group 3, BCS > or = 7. Each group was managed so that individual cows would calve with a BCS of 5 to 6. At the time of group assignment, mean BW and BCS differed (P < .01) among groups and were 480 kg and 3.6, 541 kg and 5.5, and 594 kg and 7.1 for Groups 1 to 3, respectively. Within 28 d before calving, BW and BCS were similar (P > .20) among groups averaging 555 kg and 5.1. Prepartum BCS changes averaged 1.4, -.4, and -2.0 units for Groups 1 to 3, respectively (P < .01). Cows were managed as a single group after calving in each state. Location effect was significant for the prepartum and postpartum BW and BCS changes but not for postpartum reproductive performance. Significant location x BCS group interactions were found for the 90-d prepartum BW, BCS at calving, and prepartum changes in BW, but were caused by differences in magnitude among locations. The percentage of cows with luteal activity at the start of a subsequent breeding season was not affected (P > .20) by either location or BCS group, and averaged 66%. Mean pregnancy rates at 20, 40, and 60 d of a subsequent breeding season were 55, 76, and 89% for Group 1; 51, 67, and 82% for Group 2; and 64, 79, and 89% for Group 3 (P > .30). Mean days to conception were 89, 87, and 85 for Groups 1 to 3, respectively (P = .70). Neither calf birth weight (x = 38.6 kg) nor adjusted 205-d weight (x = 223.6 kg) were affected by prepartum BW and BCS changes. We conclude that reproductive performance of cows calving in moderate body condition is not influenced by large changes in body energy reserves during the last trimester of pregnancy.