Document Detail

Calving system and weaning age effects on cow and preweaning calf performance in the Northern Great Plains.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  16230667     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
A 3-yr study evaluated late winter (Feb), early spring (Apr), and late spring (Jun) calving systems in conjunction with varied weaning strategies on beef cow and calf performance from Northern Great Plains rangelands. Crossbred cows were randomly assigned to one of three calving systems (on average n= 168.calving system(-1).yr(-1)) and one of two weaning times (Wean 1, 2) within each calving system. The Feb and Apr calves were weaned at 190 and 240 d of age, whereas Jun calves were weaned at 140 and 190 d of age. Breeding by natural service occurred in a 32-d period that included estrous synchronization. Cows were managed throughout the year as appropriate for their calving season. Quantity and quality of hay and supplements were provided based on forage and weather conditions, physiological state of the cows, and available harvested feed resources within a year. After weaning, two-thirds of the early weaned steers were fed in confinement in Montana, and one-third were shipped to Oklahoma and were grazed or fed forage. One-half of the early weaned heifers grazed seeded pastures, and the other half was fed in confinement. Early weaned calves were weighed on approximately the same day as late-weaned calves. Birth weight and overall rate of gain from birth to weaning did not differ for calves from the three calving systems. Calf weaning weight differed by weaning age within calving system (P = 0.001), and calves from the Jun calving system that were weaned at 190 d of age tended (P = 0.06) to be lighter than calves of the same age from the Feb or Apr calving systems. Cow BW change and BCS dynamics were affected by calving system, but the proportion of cows pregnant in the fall was not. Cows suckled until later dates gained less or lost more BW during the 50 d between the first and second weaning than dry cows during this period. The previous year's weaning assignment did not affect production in the following year. Estimated harvested feed inputs were less for the Jun cows than for the Feb and Apr cows. We conclude that season of calving and weaning age affect outputs from rangeland-based beef cattle operations.
E E Grings; R E Short; K D Klement; T W Geary; M D MacNeil; M R Haferkamp; R K Heitschmidt
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Clinical Trial; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of animal science     Volume:  83     ISSN:  1525-3163     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Anim. Sci.     Publication Date:  2005 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2005-10-18     Completed Date:  2006-10-19     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8003002     Medline TA:  J Anim Sci     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  2671-83     Citation Subset:  IM    
USDA-ARS, Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory, Miles City, MT 59301, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Animal Feed
Animal Husbandry / methods*
Cattle / growth & development*
Random Allocation
Time Factors
Weight Gain

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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