158 Long term impact of ergot alkaloids on fetal heifer development and subsequent growth and reproductive performance Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract Previous studies from our laboratory have demonstrated physiological differences in mid-gestation cows grazing either endophyte-infected (EI) or endophyte-free (EF) tall fescue. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of in utero exposure (TRT) of either EI or EF on heifer growth, reproductive tract development and onset of puberty. Pregnant Angus and SimAngus cows were blocked by age, BW, and breed; and then randomly assigned to graze either EF (n = 27) or EI (n = 27) pastures. At parturition, heifer birthweight was recorded and placental tissues were collected to assess placental characteristics. Heifer BW, height, frame score were recorded at weaning. Assessment of puberty via measurement of BW, BCS, reproductive tract scores (RTS) and pelvic area (PA) started at 10 mo of age. Data were analyzed using a MIXED procedure of SAS and examined for effects of TRT, sire, and age. Statistical significance was determined at P < 0.05 and a tendency at 0.05); however, there was a sire by treatment interaction for ADG during onset of puberty (P < 0.05). While TRT did not affect PA or RTS (P > 0.05) at 10 mo of age, sire significantly influenced RTS (P < 0.05) thus impacting of onset of puberty. While consumption of EI fescue impacts cow performance, calf birthweight, and ratio of cotyledon to placenta weight, it has minimal effect on postnatal growth and development through 10 mo of age. Further studies are needed to determine the impact on heifer reproductive performance.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Animal Science

author list (cited authors)

  • Jackson, M. L., Newsome, M. A., Brown, A. R., Poole, R. K., Dudley, H. B., Poore, M. H., & Poole, D. H.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Jackson, McKenzie Lane||Newsome, McKayla A||Brown, Alecia R||Poole, Rebecca K||Dudley, Harrison B||Poore, Matthew H||Poole, Daniel H

publication date

  • July 2019