Pre- and postweaning performance by cows and calves that grazed toxic or nontoxic endophyte-infected tall fescue pastures

K. P. Coffey, W. K. Coblentz, J. D. Caldwell, R. K. Ogden, T. Hess, D. S. Hubbell, C. P. West, C. R. Krehbiel, T. G. Montgomery, J. A. Jennings, C. F. Rosenkrans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Negative effects on cattle grazing tall fescue [Schedonorus arundinaceus (Schreb.) Dumort.] infected with the wild-type endophyte Neotyphodium coenophialum (E+) are well documented, but information about the carryover effects on weaned calves is limited. Our objective was to compare pre- and postweaning performance by spring-calving cows and calves grazing E+ with that by cows grazing a nontoxic endophyte-tall fescue association (NE+). Pregnant Gelbvieh × Angus crossbred cows (n = 136; 492 ± 19.2 kg of initial BW) were stratified by BW and age and allocated randomly to one of four 10-ha pastures in yr 1 (October 15) and one of eight 10-ha pastures in yr 2 (November 30). Pastures were allocated randomly before establishment to E+ or NE+. Cows remained on their assigned pastures until weaning in yr 2 but were removed from NE+ in the summer of yr 1 because of low forage mass. After weaning, calves grazed bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] followed by cool-season annual grasses. Cow BW and pregnancy rate, and calf weaning weight and preweaning gain were greater (P < 0.05) from NE+ versus E+. Weaning weight differentials were maintained throughout postweaning production phases, resulting in heavier HCW (P < 0.05) by steers and a tendency for greater (P < 0.10) subsequent calving rates by heifers. Therefore, replacing E+ with NE+ may improve preweaning cow and calf performance and heifer reproductive rates, but postweaning gains may not be affected by previous exposure to E+.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-587
Number of pages11
JournalProfessional Animal Scientist
Volume31
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

Keywords

  • Beef calf
  • Novel endophyte
  • Tall fescue

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    Coffey, K. P., Coblentz, W. K., Caldwell, J. D., Ogden, R. K., Hess, T., Hubbell, D. S., West, C. P., Krehbiel, C. R., Montgomery, T. G., Jennings, J. A., & Rosenkrans, C. F. (2015). Pre- and postweaning performance by cows and calves that grazed toxic or nontoxic endophyte-infected tall fescue pastures. Professional Animal Scientist, 31(6), 577-587. https://doi.org/10.15232/pas.2015-01437