Date of this Version
J. Anim. Sci. 2005. 83:2663–2670
A 2-yr study using primiparous and multiparous, spring-calving, crossbred beef cows was conducted to evaluate the effects of supplemental whole corn germ on reproductive performance, calf performance, and serum leptin concentrations. Each year, cows were blocked by age and BCS and assigned randomly to one of three treatments: PRE (n = 115) cows received 1.14 kg/d (DM basis) of whole corn germ for approximately 45 d before calving; POST (n = 109) cows were fed 1.14 kg/d of whole corn germ for approximately 45 d after calving; and control cows (n = 118) were fed similar energy and protein from dry-rolled corn (1.82 kg of DM/d) for 45 d before and after calving. Additionally, PRE cows were grouped with controls after calving, and POST cows were grouped with control cows before calving, so that corn germ-supplemented cows received the control supplement in the alternate feeding period. Cow BW (538 ± 13 kg) and BCS (5.4 ± 0.13) did not differ among treatments at any time during the experiment. Calf birth weight (39 ± 2 kg), weaning weight (225 ± 7 kg), and age-adjusted weaning weight (234 ± 8 kg) did not differ because of dam supplementation regimen. Treatment did not affect the proportion of cows exhibiting ovarian luteal activity before the start of the breeding season (67%) or pregnancy rate (91%). The interval from exposure to bulls until subsequent calving did not differ (P = 0.16) among PRE (298 ± 2.3 d), POST (303 ± 2.6 d), and control (304 ± 2.3 d) cows. Leptin concentrations did not differ among treatments and were 2.15 ± 0.75, 1.88 ± 0.76, and 1.91 ± 0.75 ng/ mL for control, POST, and PRE cows, respectively. Age and week relative to calving influenced leptin concentration. Primiparous cows had similar leptin concentrations to 3-yr-old and mature cows for wk −7 and −6 relative to calving, but lower (P < 0.10) concentrations than mature cows forwk−5, and lower (P < 0.05) concentrations than either 3-yr-old or mature cows for wk −4 to +7 relative to calving. Serum leptin was correlated with BCS (P < 0.0001; r = 0.35) at initiation of the feeding period and was correlated with BCS (P = 0.02; r = 0.12) and weight (P < 0.01; r = 0.14) at the completion of the supplement period, but it was not correlated with initial BW or interim BCS. Calving interval was not correlated (P > 0.12) with weekly measures of serum leptin concentration. Supplementing beef cows with whole corn germ had no effect on cow performance, calf performance, or serum leptin concentrations of cows.