Effects of age on body condition and production parameters of multiparous beef cows

B. J. Renquist, J. W. Oltjen, R. D. Sainz, C. C. Calvert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Pregnancy rate, calving interval, birth weight, weaning weight, and quarterly BCS were collected for 5 consecutive years on 454 fall-calving multiparous British crossbred cattle (3 to 10 yr of age) to evaluate associations of age with BCS and production parameters. Body weight and BCS were collected precalving, prebreeding, at weaning, and midway through the second trimester of pregnancy (August). Body condition score was correlated with age during all seasons (P < 0.01). At calving, breeding, and in August, 3-yr-old cows had the lowest BW and BCS, whereas 8-yr-old cows had the greatest. At weaning, these values were maximal in 10-yr-old cows. Pregnancy rate was near 80% up to 9 yr of age but decreased to 57% in 10-yr-old cows. The relationship of pregnancy rate with age appears to be correlated with the BCS decrease at breeding in the older cows, supported by the fact that inclusion of BCS at breeding in the statistical model eliminated the effect of age on pregnancy rate (P = 0.42). Calving interval was longer in 3-yr-old cows compared with 4- to 9-yr-old cows (P = 0.02); however, among older cows, there was little change in the calving interval. Birth weight reached a maximum at 8 yr of age (35 ± 0.9 kg) and a minimum in 3-yr-old cows (32 ± 0.7 kg). Birth weights of calves born to both 3- and 4-yr-old cows were lower than for those born to 5-, 6-, 7-, or 8-yr-old cows (P < 0.05). Ten-year-old cows weaned lighter calves (205-d adjusted weaning weight) than younger dams. Furthermore, 3-yr-old cows weaned calves 9 ± 2.1 and 14 ± 2.4 kg lighter than 4- and 5-yr-old cows, respectively (P < 0.001). Interpretation of the age analyses of calving interval, birth weight, and weaning weight was independent of the inclusion of BCS in the model. This study documents the effects of age on calving interval, birth weight, and weaning weight that are independent of BCS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1890-1895
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2006


  • Age
  • Birth weight
  • Calving interval
  • Cattle
  • Pregnancy rate
  • Weaning weight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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