Supplementation frequency and amount modulate postweaning growth and reproductive performance of Bos indicus-influenced beef heifers.
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This 2-yr study evaluated the growth and puberty attainment of Bos indicus-influenced beef heifers offered 2 different postweaning concentrate supplementation amounts and delivery frequencies. On day 0 of each year, 64 Brangus crossbred heifers were stratified by initial body weight (BW) and age (mean = 244 ± 22 kg; 314 ± 17 d) and assigned into 1 of 16 bahiagrass pastures (4 heifers/pasture/yr). Treatments were randomly assigned to pastures in a 2 × 2 factorial design (4 pastures/treatment/yr) and consisted of concentrate dry matter (DM) supplementation at 1.25% or 1.75% of BW which were offered either daily (7×) or 3 times weekly (3×) for 168 d. On day 56 of each year, heifers were assigned to an estrus synchronization protocol consisting of intravaginal controlled internal drug release (CIDR) insertion on day 56, CIDR removal on day 70, i.m. injection of 25 mg of prostaglandin F2α (PGF2α) on day 86, and i.m. injection of 100 µg of gonadotropin-releasing hormone and timed-AI at 66 h after PGF2α injection (day 89). Heifers were exposed to Angus bulls from day 89 to 168 (1 bull/pasture). Pregnancy diagnosis was assessed on day 213 of each year. Supplementation amount × frequency effects were not detected (P ≥ 0.12) for any variable, except for plasma concentrations of glucose (P = 0.10) and urea nitrogen (PUN; P = 0.01). Herbage mass, herbage allowance, and nutritive value did not differ (P ≥ 0.12) among treatments. Increasing supplementation DM amount from 1.25% to 1.75% of BW increased (P ≤ 0.05) plasma concentrations of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), overall average daily gain (ADG), final BW, percentage of pubertal heifers on day 89, pregnancy and calving percentages, and percentage of heifers calving within the first 21 d of the calving season. However, reducing the supplementation frequency from daily to 3× weekly, regardless of supplementation amount, did not impact overall pregnancy and calving percentages (P ≥ 0.42), but caused (P ≤ 0.05) fluctuations in plasma concentrations of insulin and IGF-1 and decreased (P ≤ 0.03) overall ADG, final BW, puberty attainment on days 56, 89, and 168, and percentage of heifers calving during the first 21 d of the calving season. Hence, increasing the supplement DM amount did not prevent the negative effects of reducing the frequency of supplementation (3× vs. 7× weekly) on growth and reproduction of replacement Bos indicus-influenced beef heifers.
author list (cited authors)
Moriel, P., Palmer, E., Vedovatto, M., Piccolo, M. B., Ranches, J., Silva, H. M., ... Vendramini, J.