Animal Science Department


Date of this Version

January 2008


Published in J. Anim. Sci. 2008. 86:476–482. Copyright ©2008 American Society of Animal Science. Used by permission.


Whole raw soybeans (SB), wet corn gluten feed (WCGF), and corn dried distillers grains (DDG) are sources of protein in heifer development rations. The objectives of this study were to compare puberty status before synchronization of estrus, response to synchronization, and AI and final pregnancy rates in heifers developed on diets containing SB, WCGF, or DDG that were formulated to be similar in energy and CP. These ingredients vary substantially in fat content, which may affect reproductive performance. Rate of gain during the feeding period and post-AI performance were also compared. In a preliminary experiment, 104 crossbred heifers were fed diets containing either 1.25 kg of SB/d or 2.0 kg of WCGF/d for 110 d (DM basis), beginning at 10 mo of age. In Exp. 1, 100 crossbred heifers received either 1.25 kg of SB/d or 2.5 kg of WCGF/d from approximately 7 to 10 mo of age (91 d; 4 pens/diet), and then were fed 1.25 kg of SB/d for an additional 114 d (4 pens/diet). In Exp. 2, 1.25 kg of SB/ d or 1.25 kg of DDG/d was fed to 100 crossbred heifers for 226 d, beginning at 6 mo of age (4 pens/diet). At approximately 13 mo of age, heifers were fed melengestrol acetate (0.5 mg/d) for 14 d, followed by an i.m. injection of PGF (25 mg) 19 d later to synchronize estrus. Heifers (14 mo of age) received AI for 5 d after PGF, at which time the dietary treatments were ended. Heifers were commingled while grazing on native pasture and were exposed to bulls for approximately 60 d beginning 10 d after the last day of AI. Pregnancy to AI was determined by ultrasound 45 d after the last day of AI. Heifers fed SB in the preliminary experiment had a lower (P < 0.05) synchronization rate (81 vs. 96%) and longer interval (P = 0.05) from PGF to estrus (76.6 vs. 69.2 h) compared with heifers fed WCGF. In Exp. 1, the age at which the heifers were begun on SB diets did not alter (P > 0.10) the synchronization rate (79%) or timing of estrus after PGF (77.8 h). In Exp. 2, the synchronization rate (86%) and timing of estrus after PGFα (69.3 h) did not differ (P > 0.10) because of diet. No differences (P > 0.10) were due to diet for AI conception rates (overall mean for each experiment: 76.5, 60, and 68.5%), percentage of all heifers becoming pregnant to AI (67, 46, and 59%), or final pregnancy rates (92, 90, and 90%) in the preliminary experiment, Exp. 1, or Exp. 2, respectively. In summary, SB, DDG, and WCGF can be used as sources of protein in heifer development diets at the inclusion rates used in these studies.