The influence of dam age and heifer post-weaning voluntary feed intake on subsequent production, reproduction and lifetime productivity of Angus beef females
Wellnitz, Krista Rose
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Limited research has been done to evaluate the impacts of dam age or post-weaning voluntary feed intake and its impact on subsequent performance and longevity in the beef herds, specifically female offspring. Therefore, the objectives of this research were to investigate how dam age and post-weaning voluntary feed intake influences lifetime productivity of commercial Angus females. First-calf heifers and mature cows were used to conduct three studies. Results indicate that classification of replacement heifers based on intake as a heifer had little to no impact on subsequent productivity as a mature female, while dam age had a greater influence overall. Productivity as a measure of total pounds of calf weaned through 5 yrs indicated that cows from dams that were 8-yr old or older weaned more total pounds of calf than cows from 3- yr old dams. Results indicated that heifers classified as low intake heifers, had greater mature BW at breeding and greater BCS than cows that were classified as average or high intake as heifers. However, DMI expressed as g/kg of BW displayed no differences with respect to cow age. Milk production was influenced by post-weaning intake for 2 and 5-yr old cows. The dam age study, indicated that dam age will affect future outcomes of replacement heifers. Cow BW at weaning displayed significance for dam age with cows born from 5- and 8-yr old and older dams having greater BW than cows born from 2-yr old. Cow yearling weight was significant for dam age with cows from 5-, 6/7-, and 8-years and older dams having greater yearling weights than cows from 2- and 3-yr old dams. The probability of remaining in the herd at 5-yr old varied across dam age groups with cows from 2-yr old and 5-yr old dams having greater probability to remain in the herd than the other age groups. Therefore, our research suggests that selection of replacement heifers based on post-weaning voluntary feed intake at 45 d post-weaning is not a strong indicator of lifetime productivity. Instead, cow age has a greater impact on lifetime productivity than heifer post-weaning voluntary feed intake.