Effects of Prenatal Androgenization, Melengestrol Acetate, and Synovex-H® on Feedlot Performance, Carcass, and Sensory Traits of Once-Calved Heifers

B. A. Reiling, L. L. Berger, D. B. Faulkner, F. K. McKeith, T. G. Nash, F. A. Ireland

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    7 Scopus citations


    Three studies were designed using a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement of treatments within each experiment to evaluate the effects of various management techniques on growth and carcass traits of once-calved heifers. In Exp. 1, 33 yearling (16 control [C] and 17 prenatally androgenized [PA]) and 39 once-calved (20 C and 19 PA) nonpregnant heifers were used to evaluate the effects of age and PA. Once-calved heifers were approximately 31 kg heavier (P < .03) on-test, initially consumed 11% more (P < .01) DM, and gained 11% faster (P < .08), but had similar (P = .44) gain to feed ratios (.138 vs. .131) as yearlings. Growth performance was not affected by PA. The yearling and once-calved heifers were then slaughtered at approximately 707 and 1,080 d of age, respectively. Despite maturity differences (P < .01), marbling scores (P = .26) and percentage of choice carcasses (P = .27) were similar. However, on the basis of newly accepted grading changes, percentage of once-calved heifer carcasses grading choice decreased from 57.3 to 34.4%. Organoleptic properties did not differ. Experiments 2 and 3 were then conducted to evaluate effects of commercially available products (melengestrol acetate [MGA] and Synovex-H®) on feedlot characteristics of heifers following weaning of their first calf. In Exp. 2, 48 once-calved Simmental-based heifers were fed during the summer to a constant compositional fat thickness of .8 cm. Experiment 3 was conducted in the late fall and early winter, during which 52 moderately sized heifers were fed for 116 d postweaning and slaughtered. Performance of heifers in Exp. 2 was not affected by MGA. However, heifers fed MGA in Exp. 3 gained 9% faster (P < .05) than controls. In Exp. 2, Synovex-H tended to improve ADG (P < .09) and feed efficiency (P < .07), but did not affect performance in Exp. 3. Most carcass traits were not affected by either treatment. Nonpregnant, once-calved heifers seem to have a large capacity for efficient weight gain as compared with yearling heifers. However, hormonal compounds, such as testosterone propionate provided pre- or postnatally (Synovex-H), and MGA do not appear to provide the consistent, positive responses often seen with younger, more typical feedlot heifers.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)2043-2051
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of animal science
    Issue number9
    StatePublished - Sep 1996


    • Androgens
    • Carcass
    • Estradiol
    • Heifers
    • Melengestrol
    • Performance

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Food Science
    • Animal Science and Zoology
    • Genetics


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