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|1998 ||Hennessy, DW, Williamson, PJ, McLennan, DJ, Farquharson, RJ, Morris, SG and Darnell, RE (1998) Improved beef production from supplementation of Hereford, Brahman and crossbred cattle grazing low and medium quality pastures in the subtropics of Australia. Animal Science, 66 : 93-104.|
Subtropical grasslands are low in organic matter digestibility (OMD) (0.60) and nitrogen (N) (15 g/kg) for much of the year and this limits cattle production which is characterized by low calving rates and low weaning weights. Production has been based on Bos taurus British breeds of cattle but this is changing and now many breeding herds comprise B, indicus cows and their crosses. This change has increased some aspects of production, but low calving rates persist. A 4-year study was undertaken with a view to improve calving rates and weaner output by supplementing cows grazing either native or improved pastures with a high protein oilseed meal (cottonseed meal; CSM) on four sites. These sites were subdivided into a total of 36 paddocks to allow for two replications in a 3 breeds X 3 supplementation rates X 2 pastures factorial design. Selected cows (no. = 216) from Hereford (H), Brahman (B) and Brahman X Hereford (BH) breed types were set to graze either native pastures (0.45 to 0.62 OMD, 8 to 15 g N per kg; low quality) or improved pastures (0.47 to 0.67 OA ID, 10 to 22 g N per kg; medium quality). Cows were given either 0, 750 or 1500 g/day of CSM for 130 days from calving until 4 weeks into a 12- to 13-week mating period. The CSM was given as two meals per week. Live weight at mating of cows on the low quality pasture was increased (P < 0.01) over those not supplemented by feeding either 750 g CSM per day (H and B cows) or 1500 g CSM per day tall cows). There was no significant effect of supplementation on the mating weights of B cows grazing the medium quality sites. Calving rate of B cows was not increased by their supplementation on either low (4-year mean 58.3 %) or medium quality pastures (66.8%) but did tend to be higher in H cows when supplemented at 1500 g CSM per day on the low (66.7 v. 78.0 (s.e. 6.09) %; P < 0.1) and medium quality pastures (70.5 v. 93.5 (s.e. 4.72) %). An increased calving rate (65.8 (s.e. 6.6) % to 83.2 (s.e. 5.82) % in s...
| Dr Ross Darnell|
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|Keywords: ||Agriculture, Dairy & Animal Science, Beef Production, Calving Rate, Cottonseed Oil-meal, Subtropics, Young Breeding Cattle, Western-australia, Commercial Herds, 1st-cross Cows, Body Condition, South-west, Performance, Conception, Liveweight, Fertility|