Skip to main content Accessibility help

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

  • D. E. Lowe (a1), F. O. Lively (a1) and A. W. Gordon (a2)


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.


Corresponding author


Hide All
Besser, TE and Gay, CC 1994. The importance of colostrum to the health of the neonatal calf. Veterinary Clinics of North America-Food Animal Practice 10, 107111.
Burrow, HM 1997. Measurement of temperament and their relationships with performance traits of beef cattle. Animal Breeding Abstracts 65, 477495.
Cooke, RF, Bohnert, DW, Cappellozza, BI, Mueller, CJ and DelCurto, T 2012. Effects of temperament and acclimation to handling on reproductive performance of Bos taurus beef females. Journal of Animal Science 90, 35473555.
DEFRA 2013. Condition scoring of beef suckler cows and heifers. Retrieved on 28 June 2016 from
Kasimanickam, R, Asay, M, Schroeder, S, Kasimanickam, V, Gay, JM, Kastelic, JP, Hall, JB and Whittier, WD 2014. Calm temperament improves reproductive performance of beef cows. Reproduction in Domestic Animals 49, 10631067.
Keady, TWJ, Kirkland, RM, Ingram, PA, Steen, RWJ, Comerford, J, Patterson, DC and Mayne, CS 2004. Beef from the suckler herd: 2. Evaluation of the performance of some of the commonest dam genotypes present in the Northern Ireland suckler herd. Proceedings of the British Society of Animal Science, March 2004, York, England, p36.
Kirchgessner, M, Kreuzer, M and Roth-Maier, DA 1986. Milk urea and protein content to diagnose energy and protein malnutrition of dairy cows. Archives of Animal Nutrition 36, 192197.
Laster, DB, Glimp, HA, Cundiff, LV and Gregory, KE 1973. Factors affecting dystocia and effects of dystocia on subsequent reproduction in beef-cattle. Journal of Animal Science 36, 695705.
Le Neindre, P, Trillat, G, Sapa, J, Menissier, F, Bonnet, JN and Chupin, JM 1995. Individual differences in docility in Limousin cattle. Journal of Animal Science 73, 22492253.
Murphy, BM, Drennan, MJ, O’Mara, FP and McGee, M 2008. Performance and feed intake of five beef suckler cow genotypes and pre-weaning growth of their progeny. Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research 47, 1325.
Payne, RW, Harding, SA, Murray, DA, Soutar, DM, Baird, DB, Glaser, AI, Channing, IC, Welham, SJ, Gilmour, AR, Thompson, R and Webster, R 2015. The Guide to GenStat Release 12, Part 2: Statistics. VSN International, Hemel Hempstead.
Phocas, F, Boivin, X, Sapa, J, Trillat, G, Boissy, A and Le Neindre, P 2006. Genetic correlations between temperament and breeding traits in Limousin heifers. Animal Science 82, 805811.
Steen, RWJ 2014. Using research to reduce the costs of producing beef and lamb. Produced on CD for AgriSearch, September 2014.
Zou, CX, Lively, FO, Wylie, ARG and Yan, T 2016. Estimation of maintenance energy requirements, methane emissions and nitrogen utilization efficiency of two suckler cow genotypes. Animal 10, 616622.



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed