Effects of Protein Source Added to Molasses-based Supplements on Performance of Range Cows
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© 2008 American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists. The objective of this study was to compare performance and reproductive efficiency of mature Braford cows offered molasses-based supplements containing urea (MU) or a blend of cottonseed meal and feather meal. Over 5 yr, an average of 52 pregnant non-lactating Braford cows were randomly allocated annually to 4 units of range pastures (in September), and received MU at a daily rate of 1.8 kg of DM beginning in early December. At the end of the winter range grazing (March), cows were stratified by BW and age, randomly allocated into 4 bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum) pastures, and exposed to bulls for 90 d. At this time, each pasture was randomly selected to receive MU or the cottonseed and feather meal twice weekly at a daily rate of 1.8 kg of DM per cow. Cow BW and BCS were assessed at the beginning and end of the winter range grazing period and at the end of the breeding season. Cow pregnancy status was verified by presence of fetus via rectal palpation 3 mo after the end of the breeding season. No treatment × year interaction was detected (P > 0.35). No treatment effects were detected for BW (P = 0.55), BCS (P = 0.34), or reproductive performance (P = 0.43). Nevertheless, pregnancy rates were positively affected by BCS (P < 0.05), and cows diagnosed as pregnant had greater BCS compared with non-pregnant cows (P < 0.05). In conclusion, mature Braford cows entering the breeding season in poor BCS had similar performance and pregnancy rates if offered molasses- based supplements containing urea or cottonseed meal and feather meal as protein sources.
author list (cited authors)
Cooke, R. F., & Arthington, J. D.