Function of the corpus luteum in beef heifers is affected by acute submaintenance feeding but is not correlated with residual feed intake. Academic Article uri icon


  • Seventy-four Angus and Angus Hereford heifers were used in 2 successive years (yr 1, n = 43; yr 2, n = 31) to determine if luteal function of heifers during acute submaintenance feeding is related to variation in utilization of feed as determined by residual feed intake (RFI). Residual feed intake was determined for heifers beginning at 12.3 0.1 mo of age in yr 1 and at 9.1 0.1 mo of age in yr 2. Heifers were assigned to dry-lot pens (n = 6 to 9 heifers/pen) with electronic gates to measure individual feed intake of a total mixed ration for 70 and 72 d in yr 1 and 2, respectively. Residual feed intake was calculated as the difference between actual DMI and expected DMI from linear regression of DMI on mid-test BW(0.75) and ADG. At 14.4 0.1 mo of age, all heifers were provided a restricted amount of feed to supply 40% of their maintenance energy requirements for 21 d. Estrous cycles of heifers were synchronized with PGF(2) on d -10, 0, and 11 relative to start of restriction. Concentrations of progesterone in plasma on d 14 to 21 of restriction were used to determine if heifers ovulated. Overall ADG and ADFI were 0.83 0.02 and 7.37 0.67 kg/d, respectively, for yr 1; and 0.50 0.02 and 5.66 0.09 kg/d, respectively, for yr 2. There was no correlation between RFI and BW, ADG, ADFI, or ultrasound measure of backfat, nor was RFI related to concentrations of IGF-I in plasma. All heifers lost BW and had reduced backfat (P < 0.001) at the end of restricted feeding. All heifers had reproductive cycles before dietary restriction started. During acute nutritional restriction, 4 heifers became anovulatory. Sixteen heifers had concentrations of progesterone in plasma during restricted feeding that were atypical of normal luteal function. There was no relationship between luteal function during nutrient restriction and RFI of heifers. Circulating IGF-1 was greater at weaning and after restricted feeding in heifers with a smaller RFI (>0.5 SD below the mean) than heifers with a greater RFI (>0.5 SD above the mean). It is concluded that RFI is not related to luteal function during acute submaintenance feeding, but that short-term restriction of nutrient intake can alter luteal function that may compromise fertility, even in heifers that exhibit estrus and ovulate.

published proceedings

  • J Anim Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Lents, C. A., Randel, R. D., Stelzleni, A. M., Caldwell, L. C., & Welsh, T. H.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Lents, CA||Randel, RD||Stelzleni, AM||Caldwell, LC||Welsh, TH

publication date

  • December 2011