Research Article| Volume 4, ISSUE 1, P25-31, June 1988

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Effect of Prepartum Protein Level on Calf Birth Weight, Dystocia, and Reproductive Performance of Primiparous and Multiparous Beef Females1

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      Two trials were carried out to determine the effect(s) of prepartum dietary protein on calf birth weight, dystocia, calf growth, reproduction and milk production of the dam. Spring calving Simmental heifers and cows were allotted to three prepartum nutritional treatments 112 d prior to their average expected calving date: 1) low protein, 75%; 2) control protein, 100%, and 3) high protein, 150% of the daily crude protein requirement (NRC, 1976) for heifers or cows in the last trimester of pregnancy. After calving all females were fed 100% of NRC. Body weights and condition scores were taken at allotment, immediately pre- and postpartum and at calf weaning. Calf birth weights and calving ease scores were recorded. Low protein decreased (P<.05) prepartum weight gain compared to control, but had no significant effect on postpartum weight change, pre- or postpartum body condition changes, postpartum interval (PPI) from calving to first estrus, percentage in estrus the first 21 d of the breeding season, first service or overall conception, milk production, dystocia, calf birth or 205 d weights. High prepartum protein increased (P<.05) prepartum weight gain and positively affected (P<.05) prepartum condition score change but negatively affected (P< .05) postpartum condition score and weight changes. High protein shortened (P<.05) the PPI and increased (P<.05) percentage in estrus in the first 21 d of breeding season compared to the control diet, but had no effect on dystocia, calf birth weight, first service or overall conception, milk production or 205 d weight. Prepartum protein levels had no effect on birth weight or incidence of dystocia.
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