Medical advances can help produce more beef

Bosindicus cattle like these lag behind in reproductive efficiency. This is what researchers are trying to help solve recent medical advances.Credits: Photos of Texas A & MAgri Life by Rodolfo Cardoso

Recent advances in research in human medicine may help Texas A & M’s School of Agriculture and Animal Science researchers find ways to increase beef production to meet the growing needs of the world’s population.

Bos indicus cattle breeds are critical to global beef production as they can adapt to the tropical and subtropical climates found in Texas and other southern US states.

However, a major challenge or disadvantage for Bos indicus, or Brahman cattle, is that overall reproductive performance is inferior to Bostaurus cattle breeds such as Angus and Hereford, which dominate the Midwest and Northern states.

Rodolfo Cardoso, DVM, Ph.D., an assistant professor and reproductive physiologist at the School of Agriculture and Animal Science, USDA, with a $ 500,000 grant from the USDA. Is leading the project for 4 years. , National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Collaborators include Gary Williams, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Texas A & M AgriLife Research, and graduate students Viviana Garza and Sarah West.

Cardoso said innovative advances in neuroendocrine research have defined mechanisms that regulate the secretion of the gonadotropin-releasing hormone GnRH. He said the new insights will help his team determine the difference in neuroendocrine between bovine Bostaurus and Bosindicus genotypes and use it to increase the reproductive efficiency of Bosindicus-affected cattle. believe.

“Recently, there have been significant advances in understanding how GnRH secretion is regulated in rodents and primates,” he said. “Our preliminary studies suggest that a similar mechanism is important in cattle and may explain the difference in reproductive performance between Bostaurus and Bosindicus animals.

“Once confirmed, these findings may have a practical impact on the reproductive control of Bosindicus cattle. Human medicineBased on these new discoveries, several pharmacological strategies have already been developed to improve female childbirth. “

Calf timing is important

70% of the world’s cattle are raised in the tropics and subtropics, and about 30% of the US beef herd is affected by Bosindicus, especially in the southern and southeastern regions.

One of the major challenges is that Bosindicus and Bosindicus-affected cattle reach puberty significantly later than the Bostaurus breed. Its late puberty essentially means one less calf in the life of the cow, and also presents challenges when breeders try to synchronize the estrous cycle of each breeding season.

According to Cardoso, Bos taurus heifers usually reach puberty in 10-12 months, while Bos indicus heifers often do not reach puberty until 15-17 months. ..

“The five-month delay prevents them from reaching puberty in time for the first breeding season, so they have to wait another year before breeding and giving birth to the first calf,” Cardoso said. Said.

The difference between having calves when heifers are 2 and 3 years old is that more than 4 million beef cattle alternations flow into the U.S. herd each year. Beef production.. In Texas and Florida, due to the impact of Bos indicus, less than 50% of calves achieve their calf goals at the age of two.

According to Cardoso, heifers who give birth to calves for the first time at the age of two weigh about 300 pounds of wean calves in their lifetime, or $ 500, compared to heifers who give birth at the age of three. It makes a difference.

This project will use recent findings to determine if the clear differences in reproductive function between Bosindicus and Bostaurus varieties are due to differences in the function of the brain regions that control the secretion of GnRH hormones. ..

Predetermined breeding season is the key to efficiency

A given breeding season usually lasts 45 to 90 days, and beef cattle can be managed more efficiently, Cardoso said.

“Because of the very uniform harvest of calves, calf management is much easier. Vaccination and execution of all health protocols can be done at the same time,” he said. .. “Because the group is uniform, weaning and calf sales can be done at the same time, which makes calf calf management much more efficient, and also allows for inefficient animal culling. increase.”

In addition to a better understanding of bovine reproductive function, according to Cardoso, the second goal of the pharmacological strategy is to develop a synchronous protocol for artificial insemination tailored to Bosindicus heifers. Most protocols currently used in the United States have been specially developed for Bostaurus varieties.

“These Bosindicus heifers are 12-14 months old and already have the skeletal size and maturity needed to support a safe and healthy pregnancy,” he said. “There’s no question about that. They haven’t cycled yet. We don’t want to reach what we call these precocious puberty (precocious puberty 10 months ago). It’s not desirable and it’s not about us. We’re trying to achieve it here. “

According to Cardoso, the main benefit of more efficient synchronization of breeding seasons is the increased use of artificial insemination in Bosindicus-affected cattle.

“Artificial insemination is the most powerful tool available to improve the genetics of beef cattle herds,” he said. “Beef is used for artificial insemination Cow Over time, growers can begin to improve the genetics of the herd. “

But now the breeder’s ability to synchronize the estrus of Bosindicus-affected animals Artificial insemination According to Cardoso, this is not optimal.

“By the end of this four-year project, we hope to have a very good understanding of the differences in neuroendocrine between Bostaurus and Bosindicus-affected heifers,” he said. “And, more importantly, at that time, I think there are some good strategies for pharmacologically controlling the estrous cycle of Bosindicus-affected heifers.”

Space, exercise may be important for breeding dry lot heifers

Quote: Medical progress of more beef (February 23, 2022) obtained on February 23, 2022 from https: // May be useful in production

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Medical advances can help produce more beef

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