Relationship between body condition score and production of multiparous beef cows

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Pregnancy rate, calving interval, weaning weight, birth weight and quarterly body condition score (BCS) were collected on fall calving multiparous English crossbred cattle (ages 3 to 10) from 1994 to 2001 to evaluate the critical time of cow condition measurements that predict production. The study was initiated with 260 cows. Replacement animals entered the study at first calving (2 years of age), with 45, 54, 27, 68, 54, and 45 animals added in years two through seven, respectively. Body condition score was measured in association with calving, breeding, weaning, and midway between weaning and calving (August). Regression of the logit of the probability of pregnancy (Y) showed that pregnancy outcome was quadratically related to BCS at breeding (P < 0.0001, Y = - 4.81X2 - 0.52X - 4.339) and linearly related to BCS at calving (P = 0.009, Y = 0.32X + 4.17), but was not associated with either the pre- or postpartum change in condition (P > 0.05). Calving interval varied cubically with BCS at calving and quadratically with BCS at breeding (P < 0.0001 and P = 0.002, respectively). The largest decreases in calving interval were associated with increases in body condition score at calving from 3.5 to 4.5 and from 7 to 8. Calf weight at 205 days was related to both the BCS at breeding and the change in BCS from breeding to weaning (P = 0.01 and P = 0.004). Calf weight at 205 days was also associated with BCS at weaning (P = 0.0003). Cows with either low or high BCS at weaning tended to wean lighter calves than cows with moderate condition (4.5 and 5.5). Moreover, BCS at weaning (≈ 6 months prior to calving) was related to birth weight (P = 0.01). Dams with a BCS at weaning of 7 birthed heavier calves than dams with low (3 to 4) or high (8.5) BCS. The relationship of BCS at breeding with pregnancy rate, calving interval, and weaning weight suggests that maintenance of adequate BCS immediately before, during, and after the breeding season may be most critical to sustaining adequate reproductive performance and calf gains in animals subject to the seasonal forage production associated with a Mediterranean climate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-155
Number of pages9
JournalLivestock Science
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Oct 2006


  • BCS
  • Beef cattle
  • Birth weight
  • Calving interval
  • Pregnancy rate
  • Weaning weight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • General Veterinary


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