Reconception and body-mass changes of energy supplemented first-calver beef cows and growth of their creepfed calves

Author: A.W. Lishman, J.W. Snyman & J.Z. Moolman
Year: 1984
Issue: 1
Volume: 14
Page: 20 - 25

The effect of dietary supplementation using 2,3 kg maize meal per day on change in body mass during early lactation and on the calving rate of first-calf Afrikander, Sussex and Hereford type cows which grazed the Tall Grassveld of Northern Natal was studied. Half of the suckling calves were also allowed access to a creep fed. Provision of a dietary energy supplement reduced the body mass loss by an average of only 0,02 kg per day and no consistent effect on the reconception rate was observed. In general, those cows which produced a calf after being exposed to breeding bulls for 65 days showed a higher body mass at first calving and at both the onset and the conclusion of the subsequent breeding period than cows which would not calve the following year. Amongst the Afrikander cows the interval from calving to the onset of the next breeding period accounted for 38,2% of the variation in calving rate. For all breeds, the calving rate increased by 4,7% for every ten days earlier calving. The average growth of the calves between the ages of two months and weaning (seven months) was significantly improved by 120 g per day where 0,9 kg creepfeed was supplied daily. During this period the daily gain was influenced by, in order of importance, the body mass at two months, the provision of creep feed, and the breed-type of the dam. Over the entire suckling period (birth to weaning) the growth rate was affected by the body mass of the dam at parturition, the provision of creep feed, the breed-type of the dam and the sex of the calf.



Keywords: calving rates, creepfeeding, energy supplementation, first calvers
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