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