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Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia

On-line version ISSN 1806-9290


VAZ, Ricardo Zambarda  and  LOBATO, José Fernando Piva. Effects of the weaning age of calves on somatic development and on reproductive performance of beef cows. R. Bras. Zootec. [online]. 2010, vol.39, n.5, pp.1058-1067. ISSN 1806-9290.

This study evaluated body development and reproductive performance of beef cows whose calves were submitted to early weaning (76 days of age), or conventional weaning (148 days of age). It was used 141 Braford cows that calved in 2004, 2005, and 2006 to evaluate weight at calving at 76 days, weight at calving at 148 days, weight at the beginning and end of the breeding season, variation of the average daily weight, body condition, pregnancy rate, and calving interval. Dams of calves weaned at 148 days of age showed daily weight gain higher body weight and better body condition at 148 days of age. The weights at the end of breeding season and average weight gain during the breeding season were higher in early weaning cows than in conventional cows. Pregnancy rate of early weaning cows (86.34%) was higher than those submitted to weaning at conventional age (55.45%). Pasture interval was similar among early weaning cows and conventional weaning cows. The best benefit on reducing weaning age in pregnancy rate was in primiparous cows. There was significant interaction between weaning age and the year for calving interval and milk production. The early weaning of calves carried out at 76 days of age allows cows to better weight recovery in the post-weaning and breeding periods, improving their body condition and consequently increasing pregnancy rate regarding to cows whose calves suckled until 148 days of age.

Keywords : body condition; Braford; conventional weaning; early weaning; weight gain.

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