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Journal of Animal Science Abstract - Animal Physiology

Effects of maternal nutrient restriction followed by realimentation during early and midgestation on beef cows. I. Maternal performance and organ weights at different stages of gestation12


This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 92 No. 2, p. 520-529
    Received: Aug 13, 2013
    Accepted: Nov 24, 2013
    Published: November 24, 2014

    4 Corresponding author(s):

  1. L. E. Camacho,
  2. C. O. Lemley33,
  3. M. L. Van Emon,
  4. J. S. Caton,
  5. K. C. Swanson and
  6. K. A. Vonnahme 4
  1. Department of Animal Sciences, North Dakota State University, Fargo 58108


The objectives were to evaluate the effects of nutrient restriction during early to midgestation followed by realimentation on maternal performance and organ mass in pregnant beef cows. On d 30 of pregnancy, multiparous, nonlactating cows (initial BW = 620.5 ± 11.3 kg and BCS = 5.1 ± 0.1) were assigned to 1 of 3 dietary treatments: control (CON; 100% NRC; n = 18) and restricted (RES; 60% NRC; n = 30). On d 85, cows were slaughtered (CON, n = 6; R, n = 6), remained on control (CC; n = 12) and restricted (RR; n = 12), or were realimented to control (RC; n = 11). On d 140, cows were slaughtered (CC, n = 6; RR, n = 6; RC, n = 5), remained on control (CCC, n = 6; RCC, n = 5), or were realimented to control (RRC, n = 6). On d 254, all remaining cows were slaughtered. Cows were weighed before slaughter and all maternal organs were dissected and weighed. The diet consisted of grass hay to meet 100 or 60% NEm recommendations for fetal growth and to meet or exceed recommendations for other nutrients. At d 85 slaughters, BW and empty BW (EBW) were not affected (P ≥ 0.84) by maternal nutrition. However back fat was decreased (P = 0.05) in RES vs. CON cows. Large intestine and abomasum mass were increased (P ≤ 0.05) in RES cows vs. CON. At d 140, BW was decreased (P = 0.05) and EBW tended to be decreased (P = 0.10) in RRC cows vs. CCC and RCC being intermediate. Liver mass was decreased (P = 0.02) in RR vs. CC with RC being intermediate. Ruminal mass was decreased (P = 0.003) in RR vs. CC and RC cows. At d 254, BW and EBW were similar (P ≥ 0.78) across treatments. We observed partial changes in maternal weight and organ masses due to different lengths of maternal nutrient restriction followed by realimentation. It appears that the dam undergoes some adaptations during an early to midgestation nutrient restriction and becomes more efficient in the utilization of nutrients after being realimented and as gestation advances.

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