Frequency of wet brewers grains supplementation during late gestation of beef cows and its effects on offspring postnatal growth and immunity.
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Our objectives were to evaluate postnatal growth and measurements of innate and humoral immunity of beef calves born to dams fed wet brewers grains (WBG) daily or 3 times weekly during late gestation. On d 0 (approximately 60 d before calving), 28 multiparous, spring-calving Angus cows (BW = 578 19 kg; age = 4.7 0.65 yr; BCS = 7.0 0.18) were stratified by sire, age, BW, and BCS and then randomly allocated into 1 of 14 drylot pens (2 cows/pen; 18 by 3 m; 27 m/cow). Cows were offered ground tall fescue hay ad libitum and received similar weekly WBG supplementation (DMI = 0.5% of BW multiplied by 7 d). Treatments were randomly assigned to pens (7 pens/treatment) and consisted of cows receiving WBG supplementation daily (S7; weekly DMI of WBG divided by 7 d) or 3 times weekly (S3; weekly DMI of WBG divided by 3 d; Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays) from d 0 until calving. Cow-calf pairs were managed as a single group on tall fescue pastures from calving to weaning (d 226). Calves were immediately submitted to a preconditioning period from d 226 to 266 and vaccinated against infectious bovine rhinotracheitis, bovine viral diarrhea virus, , and on d 231 and 245. Decreasing the frequency of WBG supplementation did not impact ( 0.21) precalving intake of total DM, CP, and TDN; BW and BCS change; overall plasma cortisol concentrations; and postcalving growth and pregnancy rate of cows. Overall plasma concentrations of glucose and insulin did not differ ( 0.28) between S3 and S7 cows, whereas S3 cows had greater ( = 0.002) plasma glucose concentrations and tended ( = 0.06) to have greater plasma insulin concentrations on days they were not fed WBG vs. days of WBG supplementation. Calf plasma concentrations of haptoglobin and cortisol at birth but not serum IgG ( = 0.63) tended ( = 0.10) to be greater for S3 vs. S7 calves. However, additional calf growth and immunity variables obtained during pre- and postweaning phases did not differ between S3 and S7 calves ( 0.21). Hence, decreasing the frequency of WBG supplementation during late gestation caused oscillations on precalving plasma glucose and insulin concentrations but did not affect plasma cortisol concentrations, growth, and pregnancy rate of cows. Also, reduced frequency of WBG supplementation during late gestation did not have carryover effects on postnatal calf growth and immunity.