Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment

Vol 4, Issue 2,2006
Online ISSN: 1459-0263
Print ISSN: 1459-0255

Effects of weaning programs on serum metabolites and hepatic IGF-1 mRNA of first-calf heifers or mature cows


Travis Whitney 1*, Glenn Duff 1, Peder Cuneo 1, David Henderson 1, David Schafer 1, Dennis Hallford 2, Robert Collier 1, Paula Gentry 1

Recieved Date: 2005-12-18, Accepted Date: 2006-03-22


Effects of early weaning calves on serum metabolites and hepatic insulin-like growth factor-1 messenger RNA (IGF-1 mRNA) of first-calf heifers or mature cows was investigated. Treatments were arranged in a 2 x 2 factorial and included 14 crossbred first-calf heifers and 14 crossbred mature cows assigned randomly to one of two treatment regimens: early-weaned (EW, calves weaned at an average age of 114 d) or normal-weaned (NW, calves weaned at an average age of 197 d). Blood samples were collected from dams on d 114, 141, 197 and 205 postpartum via coccygeal venipuncture. Heifers with calves EW experienced a greater increase (parity x weaning; P = 0.02) in BW over heifers with calves NW, but no change in BW due to weaning was observed for mature cows (P>0.71). Early weaning (vs. NW) increased (P<0.05) body condition (BC) and change in BC of heifers and cows. Effects of weaning regimen or parity were not observed for ADG. There were no parity x weaning or parity x weaning x d interactions (P>0.16) observed for serum IGF-1, serum non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), or serum urea nitrogen (SUN). A parity x d interaction (P<0.05) for hepatic IGF-1 mRNA, serum IGF-1 and SUN, and a trend for parity x d for NEFA (P<0.10) were observed, but no differences were detected between first-calf heifers and mature cows within sampling d. Early weaning tended to decrease (P = 0.06) SUN compared with NW status. These results suggest that EW can increase BW and BC in first-calf heifers, and decrease SUN in both first-calf heifers and mature cows. However, no other differences in performance or serum chemistry were detected between first-calf heifers and mature cows with either weaning regimen applied, in open rangeland conditions of the arid southwest United States during drought.


Beef cattle, heifers, cows, early weaning, parity, serum chemistry, metabolism, insulin-like growth factor-1, grazing, livestock production

Journal: Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment
Year: 2006
Volume: 4
Issue: 2
Category: Food and Health
Pages: 49-53

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