Effect of level of beef cow milk production on pre- and postweaning calf growth.

A. C. Clutter, M. K. Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Three groups of beef cows that were similar in growth and mature size, but different in genetic potential for level of milk provided to their calves, were studied. A procedure for fitting grafted polynomials based on calf suckling data was used to estimate the total amount of milk produced by each cow during 205-d lactations. Estimated 205-d milk production of the high milk group exceeded that of the medium and low milk groups by 186 and 561 kg, respectively. Differences in milk production of the three groups tended to increase as dams got older. The pooled, within milk-group correlation between calf gain to 205 d and milk intake was .60. Calves suckling dams with low milk production relied earlier and to a greater extent on alternative food sources of lower nutritional value than milk. Calves suckling high milk-group dams had 16.9 kg greater 205-d weaning weight than those suckling low milk-group dams, solely because of differences in maternal environment. Calves from the high milk group maintained 63% of the advantage over those in the low milk group in 205-d weight through a fairly rapid postweaning growth period to slaughter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1313-1322
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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