Reproductive performance of Gyr cows: The effect of weaning age of calves and pospartum energy intake
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Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/44039
Two nutritional levels following parturition and five weaning ages for the calf were evaluated to study their effect of reproduction in Gyr cows in the savannas of West Central Brazil (Campos Cerrados). Early weaning of calves reduced postpartum weight losses and shortened the postpartum interval to conception. Energy level did not affect cow weight at weaning or conception, the number of days from parturition to first estrus or the number of matings/conception; however, the postpartum period to conception was reduced (116 vs 160 d; P less than .05) for cows on the higher energy diet. Weaning age significantly affected postpartum weight loss in cows. Six months after calving, cows that nursed calves for 1 mo were 89 kg heavier than those that nursed calves for 6 mo (384 vs 295 kg; P less than .05). Cows that were nursed for 1 mo returned to estrus at an average of 40 d postpartum, which was 23 d earlier (P less than .05) than the average of the other groups nursed for longer periods of time. There was no significant difference in the postpartum period to conception among cows that had their calves weaned at 1 mo, 3 mo and cows which were nursed twice daily beginning 30 d after parturition (57, 94 and 97 d, respectively), but was less (P less than .05) for cows nursed for 5 or 6 mo (212 and 231 d, respectively). The results show that Gyr cattle are genetically capable of responding reproductively to improve nutrition and reduced lactation stress achieved through early weaning or controlled nursing.