Journal of animal science

Effect of prebreeding body weight or progestin exposure before breeding on beef heifer performance through the second breeding season.

PMID 17965334


Two experiments evaluated prebreeding target BW or progestin exposure for heifers developed lighter than traditional recommendations. Experiment 1 evaluated the effects of the system on heifer performance through subsequent calving and rebreeding over 3 yr. Heifers (229 kg) were assigned randomly to be developed to 55% of mature BW (299 kg) before a 45-d breeding season (intensive, INT; n = 119) or 50% of mature BW (272 kg) before a 60-d breeding season (relaxed, RLX; n = 142). Prebreeding and pregnancy diagnosis BW were greater (P 0.15) between systems. Cost per pregnant 2-yr-old cow was less for the RLX than the INT heifer development system. Of heifers that failed to become pregnant, a greater proportion (P = 0.07) of heifers in the RLX than in the INT system were prepubertal when the breeding season began. Therefore, a second 2-yr experiment evaluated melengestrol acetate (MGA, 0.5 mg/d) as a means of hastening puberty in heifers developed to 50% of mature BW. Heifers were assigned randomly to the control (n = 103) or MGA (n = 81) treatment for 14 d and were placed with bulls 13 d later for 45 d. Prebreeding and pregnancy diagnosis BW were similar (280 and 380 kg, respectively; P > 0.10) for heifers in the control and MGA treatments. The proportion of heifers pubertal before breeding (74%), pregnancy rate (90%), calving date, calf weaning weight, and second breeding season pregnancy rate (92%) were similar (P > 0.10) between treatments. Developing heifers to 50 or 55% of mature BW resulted in similar overall pregnancy rates, and supplementing the diets of heifers developed to 50% of mature BW with MGA before breeding did not improve reproductive performance.

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Melengestrol acetate, VETRANAL, analytical standard