The use of high fat prebreeding supplementation to influence reproductive efficiency in beef cows and heifers
Long, Nathan Michael
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Reproductive efficiency or the percent of cows bred at the end of breeding season is a primary factor affecting profitability of a cow calf producers. There are several factors that hamper the efforts of producers to get there cows and heifers bred. Theses factors are both physiological and nutritional. The objective of this research was to evaluate the effects of a highfat supplements fed to cows and heifers 60 days prebreeding, on cow and calf gain, estrual activity, and blood metabolites associated with reproductive efficiency. Calcium soaps of fatty acids (CSFA) were fed to heifers, and whole soybeans were fed to primiparous and multiparous cows as supplemental fat sources. The CSFA tended to improve reproductive performance while whole soybeans did not result in statistical difference. Cows and heifers used in this research were on a exceptionally high plane of nutrition, and we observed differences in reproductive levels and blood metabolites resulting from fat supplementation. Even higher reproductive performance might have occurred if the high-fat supplements were fed to cattle maintained on lower nutritional planes, and if the cattle had lower body condition.