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Hereford and Red Angus Heifers Recruited for Genomics Research

The University of Missouri is recruiting 2,500 Hereford heifers and 2,500 Red Angus heifers to participate in a heifer puberty and fertility genomic research project. Heifers should be registered Hereford, registered Red Angus, or commercial Hereford or Red Angus. Hereford x Red Angus crossbred heifers targeted for the Premium Red Baldy Program would also be a good fit for the research project. Producers must be willing to work with a trained veterinarian to collect the following data: ReproductiveTract Scores collected at a pre-breeding exam 30 to 45 days prior to the start of the breeding season. PelvicMeasurements (height and width) collected at the same pre-breeding exam 30 to 45 days prior to the start of the breeding season. Pregnancy Determination Using Ultrasound reporting fetal age in days. Ultrasound will need to occur no later than 90 days after the start of the breeding season. In addition, heifers must have known birth dates and have weights recorded eithe

Temperament and Acclimation to Human Handling Impact Productive and Reproductive Efficiency in Bos indicus-Influenced Cattle

Dr. Reinaldo F. Cooke
Oregon State University

AI causes some extra work in the summer, but saved a lot of extra work in the winter during calving season.

Temperament is the behavioral response of cattle when exposed to human contact. Temperament is a heritable trait, up to 50% of the variation is due to genetics.
How do we assess temperament? Currently we use the chute score, a 1 to 5 scale:
1. Calm with no movement
2. Restless movement
3. Frequent movement with vocalization
4. Constant movement, vocalization, shaking of the chute
5. Violent and continuous struggling

Breed type was the greatest source of variation, and sex, age, and production system were also factors affecting temperament.
What is the interaction of temperament and production? Animals with excitable temperament are more paranoid, thus they have their head up looking for threats rather than in a feed bunk eating.
As temperament worsens, cortisol increases. How does this affect reproduction?
Increased cortisol limits LH levels which impairs ovulation. In addition, pubertal heifers had lower cortisol levels compared with pre-pubertal heifers. As temperament score increases, pregnancy rates decrease in bull bred cows (no human intervention). Cows with an excitable temperament had an 8% lower pregnancy rate.
Excitable temperament is detrimental to overall productivity of beef operations.

Decker's Take Home Message:
Selection tools are available to select for appropriate temperament. Avoiding excitable cattle not only improves handler safety, but also improves production and reproduction.

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