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Protein and glucogenic precursor supplementation: A nutritional strategy to increase reproductive and economic output

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Reproductive performance in young beef cows is often compromised due to a mismatch of physiological demands and suboptimal environmental conditions. Studies conducted at the Corona Range and Livestock Research Center from 2000 to 2007 evaluated 3 postpartum supplement strategies that varied in the amount of glucogenic potential (GP) supplied. Reproductive variables, milk production, and serum metabolites were used to assess supplement effectiveness and economics associated with 2- and 3-yr-old beef cows (n = 379) grazing native range. Supplements were individually fed twice/week at 1,135 g/d (2003 to 2004) or 908 g/d (all other years) and provided 1) 327 g of CP, 109 to 118 g of RUP (CON); 2) 327 to 341 g of CP, 142 to 157 g of RUP (RUP); or 3) 327 g of CP, 151 to 173 g of RUP + 40 to 100 g of propionate salt (PS; RUP+PS). Ultimately, total GP for CON, RUP, and RUP+PS was 44 to 47, 57 to 70, and 93 to 141 g, respectively. Blood samples were collected once/week (2000) or twice/week (2001 to 2007) for progesterone analysis to estimate days to resumption of estrus. Cows were exposed to bulls for 60 d or less, and pregnancy was confirmed by rectal palpation at weaning. Days to resumption of estrus after calving decreased linearly (P = 0.02), resulting in an increased pregnancy rate (P = 0.03) with increasing GP. Milk production exhibited a quadratic (P = 0.04) response to increasing GP, with cows fed RUP producing the most amount of milk. However, a linear decrease (P = 0.07) in days from BW nadir to estrus was found with increasing GP. Total kilograms of calf weaned per cow exposed for the supplemental year and subsequent year was increased linearly (P = 0.07) with increased GP. The improvement in pregnancy rate by supplementing RUP+PS resulted in an increase in total revenue of 18% compared with CON-fed cows and 9.5% compared with RUP-fed cows in the subsequent year after supplementation. These data suggest feeding young cows additional GP in the form of PS allows for partitioning of nutrients away from milk production and toward reproduction, allowing for increased profitability by increasing pregnancy rates and decreasing days to resumption of estrus.
Mulliniks, J.T. , Cox, S.H. , Kemp, M.E. , Endecott, R.L. , Waterman, R.C. , VanLeeuwen, D.M. , Torell, L.A. , Petersen, M.K.
Includes references
Journal of animal science 2011 Oct., v. 89, no. 10
American Society of Animal Science
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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