© CSIRO 2016. Inadequate nutrient intake during late gestation can cause cow bodyweight (BW) loss and influence cow reproductive performance and subsequent productivity of steer progeny. Therefore, a 7-year study with a 3 × 3 arrangement of treatments was conducted at Corona Range and Livestock Research Centre, Corona, New Mexico to evaluate the effects of cow BW change and body condition score (BCS) during late gestation on subsequent cow pregnancy rates, progeny steer feedlot performance, and health. Cows were retrospectively classified to 1 of 3 BW change groups: (1) cows that lost BW during late gestation (LOSS; mean -26 ± 2 kg); (2) cows that maintained BW during late gestation (MAIN; mean -1 ± 1 kg); or (3) cows that gained BW during late gestation (GAIN; mean 25 ± 2 kg). Cows were also classified to 1 of 3 BCS groups: BCS of 4 (mean BCS ≤ 4.0 ± 0.02; range 4.0-4.5), 5 (mean BCS ≤ 5.0 ± 0.02; range 5.0-5.5), or 6 (mean BCS ≤ 6.0 ± 0.02; range 6.0-6.5). After weaning each year, steers were preconditioned for 45 days and were received and treated as custom-fed commercial cattle at a feedlot in mid-November. Calf weaning BW, initial feedlot BW, final BW, and hot carcass weight were unaffected (P ≥ 0.22) by dam's prepartum BW change or BCS. However, steers from GAIN and MAIN tended (P ≤ 0.06) to have increased ADG in the feedlot. Twelfth-rib fat thickness, longissimus muscle area, and days on feed were not influenced (P ≥ 0.18) by late gestation BW change or BCS. Calves from BCS 6 cows tended (P ≤ 0.10) to have greater yield grades at harvest in the feedlot. Percentage of steers grading Choice or greater was increased (P < 0.01) in steers from LOSS cows and cows in BCS 4 during late gestation compared with other groups. These data suggest that modest nutrient restriction during late gestation can have a minimal effect on growth and performance of steer progeny from birth through the finishing phase.
- Beef CattleFetal ProgrammingReproduction