Forage availability x heifer phenotype interactions for Brahman-Hereford F1 yearling heifers grazing humid pasture and semiarid rangeland.
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Yearling heifer growth data were obtained during 4 yr for 524 heifers allotted to either humid bermuda grass pastures (Overton) or semiarid rangeland (Uvalde). Each year, heifers were allotted on April 15 to four forage availability levels (400 to 2,800 kg of DM per 100 kg of BW at Uvalde and 80 to 260 kg of DM per 100 kg of BW at Overton) maintained by varying the stocking rate monthly until mid-October of each year. Forage availability and yearling heifer characteristics (weight, condition score, and height at hooks, taken on April 15) were treated as continuous variables in regression analyses. Final heifer weight, height, and condition responses to increased forage allowance were related to yearling phenotypes differently for the two locations. Generally, at Overton, forage availability influenced final characteristics to a greater extent than did yearling variables, whereas the trend was the opposite at Uvalde. At Uvalde, the yearling characteristic that had the largest effect on performance was height at hooks. Yearlings with large frames benefited from increased forage allowance by accumulating body fat at a faster rate than those with small frames. In contrast, at Overton, the yearling characteristic that had the largest effect on performance was condition. Fat heifers responded to increased forage availability to gain even greater advantages in fatness at the expense of potential growth in height and, thus, achieved early maturation. Yearling phenotypes were more broadly adapted to arrays of forage availability for humid, improved pastures than for semiarid rangeland.
author list (cited authors)
Holloway, J. W., Warrington, B. G., Rouquette, F. M., Long, C. R., Owens, M. K., & Baker, J. F.
complete list of authors
Holloway, JW||Warrington, BG||Rouquette, FM||Long, CR||Owens, MK||Baker, JF