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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Genesis, design and methods of the Beef CRC Maternal Productivity Project

W. S. Pitchford A B S , J. M. Accioly A C , R. G. Banks A D F , A. L. Barnes A E , S. A. Barwick A F , K. J. Copping A G L , M. P. B. Deland A G M , K. A. Donoghue A H , N. Edwards A G , M. L. Hebart A B , R. M. Herd A I , F. M. Jones A C , M. Laurence A E , S. J. Lee A B , W. A. McKiernan A I N , P. F. Parnell A I O , E. J. Speijers A J P , G. D. Tudor A C Q and J. F. Graham A K R
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Cooperative Research Centre for Beef Genetic Technologies.

B School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, The University of Adelaide, Roseworthy Campus, Roseworthy, SA 5371, Australia.

C Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia, Bunbury, WA 6230, Australia.

D Meat and Livestock Australia, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia.

E School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, Murdoch University, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia.

F Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia.

G South Australian Research and Development Institute, Struan Agricultural Centre, Naracoorte, SA 5271, Australia.

H NSW Department of Primary Industries, Trangie Agricultural Research Centre, Trangie, NSW 2823, Australia.

I NSW Department of Primary Industries, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia.

J Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia, South Perth, WA 6151, Australia.

K Department of Primary Industries Victoria, Hamilton, Vic. 3300, Australia.

L Present address: Walteela, Lucindale, SA 5272, Australia.

M Present address: Fifth Avenue, Naracoorte, SA 5271, Australia.

N Present address: 17 Fishing Point Road, Rathmines, NSW 2283, Australia.

O Present address: Angus Australia, 86 Glen Innes Road, Armidale, NSW 2350, Australia.

P Present address: 11A Swanbourne Street, Fremantle, WA 6160, Australia.

Q Present address: 6153 Bolsena Circuit, Hope Island, Qld 4212, Australia.

R Present address: 102 Kent Road, Hamilton, Vic. 3300, Australia.

S Corresponding author. Email: wayne.pitchford@adelaide.edu.au

Animal Production Science 58(1) 20-32 https://doi.org/10.1071/AN13054
Submitted: 9 February 2013  Accepted: 17 September 2013   Published: 30 August 2017

Abstract

Australian seedstock cattle breeders have expressed concerns that while there has been genetic improvement in feedlot and abattoir performance of cows, it could have led to a decline in maternal productivity, especially under variable nutritional conditions. This paper describes a substantial project with two components designed to address these issues. The first sub-project was to monitor bodyweight and composition of 7760 young Angus and Hereford cows as they experience variable physiological states (pregnancy and lactation) and seasons. This was conducted on large numbers in seedstock herds. The second sub-project was to monitor more regularly bodyweight, body composition, and calf rearing performance of 500 Angus cows that are genetically divergent for either fat or residual feed intake at two research centres. This also included two levels of nutrition and recording of weekly feed intake of small groups of cows for at least three parities to allow reporting of genotype × nutrition effects on maternal productivity and efficiency. Results from the project are reported in a series of papers with each one having a defined focus.


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