The effect of body condition, live weight, breed, age, calf performance, and calving date on reproductive performance of spring-calving beef cows
Osoro, K.; Wright, I.A.
Journal of animal science 70(6): 1661-1666
ISSN/ISBN: 0021-8812 PMID: 1634389 Accession: 013206804
Data from 321 spring-calving cows (mean calving date March 27) were used to assess the effects of body condition, live weight, cow age (from 4 to 13 yr), and breed (237 Hereford X Friesians and 84 Blue-Greys) and time of calving on the proportion of cows that became pregnant, the number of days from the start of mating to pregnancy, and calving interval. Mating started at turn-out to pasture in mid-May and lasted 9 to 10 wk. Body condition at calving and breed were the most significant animal factors affecting reproductive performance. Cows calving in higher body condition had shorter (P < .001) calving intervals (11.2 d per unit of body condition at calving). Blue-Grey cows became pregnant in a higher proportion (90%) and calving interval was shorter (364 d) than in Hereford X Friesians (83%; 374 d). Body condition at the start of mating was less important and body condition at the end of mating had no effect. Live weight at calving and changes in live weight from calving to the start of mating and during the mating period had no significant effect. The proportion of cows becoming pregnant decreased significantly with age in Hereford X Friesian cows older than 7 yr. The variance in calving interval accounted for by calving date, body condition at calving, breed, and age was 42%.