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Article

Influence of Heifer Post-Weaning Voluntary Feed Intake Classification on Lifetime Productivity in Black Angus Beef Females

1
Department of Animal and Range Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717, USA
2
Northern Agricultural Research Center, Montana State University, Havre, MT 59501, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Adriana Bonanno
Animals 2022, 12(13), 1687; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12131687
Received: 1 June 2022 / Revised: 21 June 2022 / Accepted: 28 June 2022 / Published: 30 June 2022
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
Replacement beef heifers represent the future of a herd for many cow-calf producers. Producers must invest significant resources into the development of these females as well as consider their maintenance and production costs as mature cows. As a result, selection focuses on replacement heifers that are more efficient in limited nutrition forage base systems. Producers can improve lifetime productivity by ensuring their replacements are of an ideal age and size to be bred as a 2-yr old. Selection criteria may include reproductive ability and breeding history, milk production, and weaning/yearling weights. The ability to select replacement females that are more efficient without negatively affecting overall productivity will help to decreased inputs and alleviate the need for additional expenses such as supplemental feed resources.
This study evaluated heifer post-weaning voluntary feed intake (g/kg BW) classification on performance and reproductive measures, as well as impacts on lifetime productivity of 519 commercial Angus beef females. Heifer post-weaning voluntary feed intake (g/kg BW) was calculated over 80 test days following weaning using GrowSafe units. Heifers were categorized based on voluntary feed intake (g/kg BW) as either low (<−0.50 SD from the mean), average (±0.50 SD from the mean), or high (>0.50 SD from the mean) within year. Cow body weight (BW) and body condition score (BCS) at breeding displayed an age effect (p < 0.001), with 2- and 3-year-old cows having lighter BW and lower BCS than 4-yr-old and older cows. Cow BW at weaning showed significance for age and intake (p < 0.001) with younger cows being lighter than older cows, while low intake classified females had greater BW at weaning compared to average and high intake females. Additionally, calf 205-d weights and calf weaning weights (p < 0.01) were significant for age with calves born from older cows weighing more than younger cows. Weaning weight ratio displayed a linear increase with increasing intake classification (p < 0.01). Heifer yearling BW was significant for intake (p < 0.01) with low and average intake heifer classifications having greater heifer yearling BW than cows that had high intake classification as a heifer. Age and intake classification did not impact (p ≥ 0.22) pregnancy status or AI conception. In summary, heifer post-weaning feed intake classification had only minor impacts compared to age effects on lifetime productivity of Angus beef females. View Full-Text
Keywords: beef cattle; efficiency; heifer; intake; productivity beef cattle; efficiency; heifer; intake; productivity
MDPI and ACS Style

Wellnitz, K.R.; Parsons, C.T.; Dafoe, J.M.; Boss, D.L.; Wyffels, S.A.; DelCurto, T.; Van Emon, M.L. Influence of Heifer Post-Weaning Voluntary Feed Intake Classification on Lifetime Productivity in Black Angus Beef Females. Animals 2022, 12, 1687. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12131687

AMA Style

Wellnitz KR, Parsons CT, Dafoe JM, Boss DL, Wyffels SA, DelCurto T, Van Emon ML. Influence of Heifer Post-Weaning Voluntary Feed Intake Classification on Lifetime Productivity in Black Angus Beef Females. Animals. 2022; 12(13):1687. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12131687

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wellnitz, Krista R., Cory T. Parsons, Julia M. Dafoe, Darrin L. Boss, Samuel A. Wyffels, Timothy DelCurto, and Megan L. Van Emon. 2022. "Influence of Heifer Post-Weaning Voluntary Feed Intake Classification on Lifetime Productivity in Black Angus Beef Females" Animals 12, no. 13: 1687. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12131687

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