Cow condition plays a major role in reconception. A well-adapted cow should be able to forage efficiently on available grazing. This helps to pick up condition in the post calving period.
A heavier weaning weight is only one of the many advantages of hybrid vigour. It can also increase the calving rate by as much as 6%, according to Prof Bob Weaber, a specialist in cow-calf education at Kansas State University in the United States.
Prof Weaber spoke at a previous Stockman’s School at Aldam, presented by the Livestock Registering Federation (LRF), Breedplan, and Landbouweekblad.
In his presentation Weaber said to maintain condition so that cows can reconceive and successfully wean their calves, cattlemen should aim to improve feed conversion efficiency. Animals that are well adapted to the environments in which they are farmed should have better feed conversion efficiency. Farmers can improve efficiencies by paying attention to this trait. The environment will not change to suit the cows.
According to American research hybrid vigour improves the calving rate by 6%, the ability of the calf to survive to weaning age by 4%, weaning weight by 8%, the calf’s weight at a year by 4%, carcass characteristics by up to 2%, and the weaning weight per cow that conceives by 23%.
There is also a significant improvement in traits with low heritability, like fertility. A Bos taurus X Bos taurus cross improves cow production by 20% to 25% and Bos indicus X Bos taurus in tropical areas by up to 50%. In the process, revenue increases while production costs decline. “More than half of these increases are due to the use of crossbred cows,” he said.
Weaber explained how hybrid vigour improves a farmer’s margins using an example of a 100-cow herd with a weaning percentage of 80% and a weaning weight of 261kg, over a period of 10 years.
If the survival rate of calves at weaning improves by 6% and the weaning weight by 4%, there should be an extra 18 calves a year. In the US, this means that hybrid vigour increases the income per cow by R3 350 ($250) a year.
Source: Brahman Supplement