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The effect of dam genotype in a beef breeding herd on calving parameters and chemical composition of colostrum

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 October 2017


D. E. Lowe
Affiliation:
Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), Large Park, Hillsborough, Co. Down, BT26 6DR, Northern Ireland
F. O. Lively
Affiliation:
Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), Large Park, Hillsborough, Co. Down, BT26 6DR, Northern Ireland
A. W. Gordon
Affiliation:
AFBI Newforge, Newforge Lane, Belfast, BT9 5PX, Northern Ireland
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Abstract

The aim of this 3 year study was to compare two suckler cow genotypes, namely Limousin×Holstein (LH) (sourced from the dairy herd) and Stabiliser (ST) (a composite breed), in terms performance at calving. Both dam genotypes were bred to a ST sire and calved in spring/early summer. There was no significant effect of dam genotype on concentrations of casein, lactose, protein or urea nitrogen in the colostrum. Colostrum from LH cows had a significantly higher fat concentration compared with ST cows (P<0.05). Dam genotype had no effect on incidence of calving difficulty, cow temperament or mothering ability score. There was a significant difference in milk supply scores between the two breeds of cows when the 3 years of data were combined (P=0.002), with a higher percentage of LH cows having a plentiful supply of milk compared with ST cows and conversely a higher percentage of ST having limited milk compared with LH cows. However this was not a consistent effect over the 3 years. This study demonstrated that both dam breeds exhibit high maternal attributes at calving. However further work is required to investigate if LH cows have a more plentiful milk supply since this has potential to influence growth rate of progeny.


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© The Animal Consortium 2017 

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