Impact of trace mineral source on beef replacement heifer growth, reproductive development, and biomarkers of maternal recognition of pregnancy and embryo survival. Academic Article uri icon


  • Trace minerals are known to play important roles in early embryo development. The study objective was to determine effects of trace mineral source on heifer reproductive performance. Beef heifers (n = 129) were randomly assigned to one of two treatments. From weaning through breeding, all heifers were individually fed a basal diet supplemented with cobalt (Co), copper (Cu), manganese (Mn), and zinc (Zn) either from organic sources (COMP; Cu, Mn, and Zn amino acid complexes and Co glucoheptonate; Availa-4, Zinpro Corporation, Eden Prairie, MN) or inorganic sources (INORG; Cu, Mn, and Zn hydroxychlorides; Intellibond C, M, and Z, Micronutrients, Indianapolis, IN) and Co as CoSO4. Blood samples and a reproductive tract score (RTS) were collected to determine pubertal status. All animals were synchronized and artificially inseminated. Pregnancy status was determined by lymphocyte gene expression, circulating concentrations of pregnancy-associated glycoproteins (PAGs), and by transrectal ultrasonography after artificial insemination. Embryonic loss was defined as when a previously pregnant animal was subsequently diagnosed not pregnant. Data were analyzed using the MIXED procedure in SAS. Puberty (P = 0.44), pelvic area (P = 0.74), RTS (P = 0.49), and estrus expression (P = 0.82) were not influenced by treatment. There was no effect of treatment (P = 0.37) or treatment by time (P = 0.19) on pregnancy, but there was a tendency (P = 0.13) for decreased embryonic loss among COMP heifers (27 6%) compared to INORG heifers (38 6%). There was a treatment by pregnancy status by time interaction (P < 0.01) on circulating PAG concentrations with PAG concentrations tending (P = 0.08) to be greater on day 25 among heifers in the COMP treatment compared to heifers in the INORG group. In summary, source of trace mineral did not affect puberty, RTS, pelvic area, or overall pregnancy success, but feeding complexed trace minerals tended to increase circulating PAG concentrations and embryo survival.

published proceedings

  • J Anim Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Perry, G. A., Perkins, S. D., Northrop, E. J., Rich, J., Epperson, K. M., Andrews, T. N., ... Russell, J. R.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Perry, George A||Perkins, Stephanie D||Northrop, Emmalee J||Rich, Jerica JJ||Epperson, Kaitlin M||Andrews, Taylor N||Kline, Adalaide C||Quail, Lacey K||Walker, Julie A||Wright, Cody L||Russell, Jason R

publication date

  • July 2021