Animal Production Science Animal Production Science Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Intake of milk and pasture and growth rate of calves reared by cows with high or low potential for milk production

F. J. Roca Fraga A , N. Lopez-Villalobos A , N. P. Martin A , P. R. Kenyon A , S. T. Morris A and R. E. Hickson A B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, Massey University, Tennent Drive, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand.

B Corresponding author. Email: R.Hickson@massey.ac.nz

Animal Production Science - https://doi.org/10.1071/AN16256
Submitted: 21 April 2016  Accepted: 22 September 2016   Published online: 29 November 2016

Abstract

Milk production of cows influences calf weaning weight, which is the major driver for economic return in a cow–calf operation. The growth trajectory of 64 steer calves resulting from a terminal cross between Angus or Simmental bulls with Angus, Angus cross Holstein Friesian, Angus cross Jersey and Angus cross KiwiCross cows was examined during the pre-weaning period from birth (D0) to weaning (D148) and during the post-weaning period until a year of age (D365). Random regression models were used to model milk intake and liveweight of calves throughout lactation. These models were a good fit to the data (r2 = 0.77 for milk intake and r2 = 0.99 for liveweight). Total energy intake from milk was greater (P < 0.05) for the Angus cross Holstein Friesian-, Angus cross Jersey- and Angus cross KiwiCross-reared steers than for those reared by Angus dams. Additional milk intake increased liveweight of steers from D90 to D365, but the magnitude of the effect decreased as the calves aged. Simmental-sired steers had a greater liveweight response to additional milk intake than Angus-sired steers at D120 and D148, probably reflecting greater growth potential from out-crossed calves.

Additional keywords: beef cattle, crossbreeding, random regression, weigh-suckle-weigh.


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