Prepartum body condition and weight influences on reproductive performance of first-calf beef cows.

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Data were collected on 476 spring-calving, primiparous cows at six locations in Louisiana over a 2-yr period. Objectives of the study were to evaluate changes in prepartum body condition score (BCS) and BW of heifers when fed varying energy levels and to determine the influences of prepartum BCS and BW changes and BCS at calving on postpartum traits. Heifers were allocated to one of three energy levels from approximately 90 d prepartum to parturition. The diets were formulated to provide low, recommended, and high energy levels based on TDN requirements. After calving, cows were placed on annual ryegrass pasture and managed similarly at each location. Weight and BCS at calving were greater (P < .05) for females with higher BCS at 90 d prepartum (IBCS) and for those assigned to higher energy levels. Calving and calf growth traits were not affected (P > .05) by IBCS, energy level, prepartum changes in BCS and BW, or BCS at calving. Prepartum changes in BCS and BW regulated by varying energy levels had no effect (P > .05) on postpartum reproduction; however, BCS at calving influenced (P < .03) pregnancy rate and days to pregnancy. Cows with BCS 6 and 7 at calving had higher (P < .05) pregnancy rates (87.0 and 90.7%) than those with BCS 4 and 5 (64.9 and 71.4%). Interval to pregnancy for cows with BCS 4 at calving was 10 to 18 d longer (P < .05) than for those with BCS > or = 5.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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Journal of animal science

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