Effect of controlled breeding on performance of beef cattle in Central Bushveld bioregion

Author: S.M. Grobler, M.M. Scholtz, F.W.C. Neser, J.P.C. Greyling & L. Morey
Year: 2019
Issue: 6
Volume: 49
Page: 1013 - 1020

In most extensive beef production systems in South Africa, calves are weaned at specific dates. This implies that cows that calve late in the season wean younger and lighter calves. In the current study, Bonsmara cows were mated naturally after synchronization over six years (2009 – 2014) in an extensive production system on natural veld in the Central Bushveld bioregion. Within the herd, 50% of cows were synchronized prior to the commencement of the summer breeding season and they were mated naturally for 90 days. The results indicated that calving rate did not differ significantly between cows that were synchronized and non- synchronized. However, there was a significant difference between years in calving rate. Oestrous synchronization prior to natural breeding influenced the average days to conception. The difference in percentage of cows that calved within 293 days of the onset of the breeding season between those that were oestrous synchronized and non-synchronized was 15% in favour of the synchronized cows. Although calves from synchronized cows achieved higher average weaning weights, the cost implications of synchronization offset the benefit of higher calf weights.

Keywords: Calving rate, natural breeding, oestrous synchronization
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