Livestock Research for Rural Development 28 (10) 2016 Guide for preparation of papers LRRD Newsletter

Citation of this paper

Effect of some environmental factors on weaning weight of Dhofari calves

Salim Bahashwan

Salalah Livestock Research Station,
P O Box 1286, Postal code 211, Salalah, Sultanate of Oman.
saleminiom@gmail.com

Abstract

Objective of this study was to find out the effect of season(SN), sex, dam age, body condition score(BCS), dam weight at partition, lactation period(LP), and dam milk yield(MY) on the 105-day weaning weight (WW) of Dhofari calves breed. Data of 180 calves (86 males and 94 females) born between 2010 and 2014 were obtained from Salalah livestock research station of Sultanate of Oman.

The overall mean of the 105-day weaning weight of all calves was 94.6 1.07 kg. General linear model (GLM) analysis(ANOVA) showed that season, sex, dam age, body condition score, lactation period, dam weight, and dam milk yield had significant (p<0.05) effects on calves weaning weight. Calves weaned at winter season gave highest values with an average of 98.9 1.87 kg. Cows from 7 to 10 years old gave the highest weaning weights (99.3 3.15 kg). Cows with BCS of 3 to 4 gave highest WW, and males (97.1 2.00 kg) were higher than females. Cows that produced above 9 kg/day/head, and their lactation period lasted more than 230 days got highest WW of 99.1 2.69 kg, and 98.8 3.89 kg, respectively.

Key words: body condition score, milk yield, season, sex


Introduction

In Sultanate of Oman farmers and animal keepers depend mainly on their native cows (Dhofari cattle breed) for red meat and dairy products as the rest of most countries in the Middle East. These native cattle breeds in the area have never been studied extensively, and lack of vital data do exist due to lack of complete records, education problems and sometimes private and governments slow support programs which needs to be more active. Growth traits such as birth and weaning weights are of primary economical importance for the cow calf producer and for the farmers in general. They are affected by calf genes and the maternal as well (Koch et al 1973; Garrick 1990; Meyer 1992). Farmer’s greatest objective is to maximize the genetic improvement of growth and production rate. Weaning weight has a great influence on returns from sales and economical profitability of cattle especially at times when demand is high. In order to have a better understanding of how to genetically improve growth traits of calves, it is vital to study all growth and development phases. This study aids in that direction for a better selection of high weaning weight calves based on factors the animals are affected by (Bazzi and Alipanah 2011). The pre-weaning growth reflects the general ability of cows to raise their claves but also the capability of animal’s development (Cucco et al 2009; Martins et al 2000). It is vital to measure the weaning weight of calves as it represents almost 50% of mature weight for 205-day weaning weight age (Everling et al 2001; Cucco et al 2009) and almost 20% for 105-day early weaning weight age (Bahashwan et al 2015) for the Dhofari calves.


Materials and methods

Data collection and experimental procedure

Data of 180 records of 105 day adjusted weaning weight and birth weights of Dhofari calves were collected from Salalah Livestock Research Station in the south region of Sultanate of Oman during the years 2010 to 2014. Calves were weighed by an automated digital weighing scale (MI101, New Zealand). Calves were housed in pens half shaded with one part concrete, fenced with steel pipes and utilized with automatic water supply and feeders. They were given commercial concentrate (18% crude protein, 2.5% crude fat, 7% crude fiber, 5% ash, 0.9% calcium, 0.5% phosphorus, and 11.5 MJ/Kg ME energy). Green and dry Rhodes grass hay (Chloris gayana) allowances were given based on NRC nutrient requirements tables (Taylor 1992). Calves were weighed within 24 hours of parturition along with their relative dams. There were kept with their dams for 5 days for colostrum consumption and during milking hours only till weaning at 105 day old. All calves weaning weighs were adjusted to 105-day weaning weight.

Statistical analysis

All data of weaning weights were analyzed (ANOVA) using the general linear model (GLM) option in the SPSS (SPSS 2010) to find the least squares means and standard errors. Effects of the different environmental factors of season, dam age, sex, dam weight, lactation period, milk yield, and body condition score as independent factors on the weaning weight of calves as dependent factor was analyzed(ANOVA) using the general linear model (GLM) procedure (SPSS 2010) to find the significance of these effects. Weaning weights were classified according to dams age (< 4, 4-7, 7-10, and >10 years old), dams weight (≤ 300, 301-400, and > 400 kg), lactation period ( ≤130, 130-230, and > 230 days), milk yield ( < 3, 3-5, 5-7, 7-9, and > 9 kg/day/head), season (winter, summer, autumn, and spring), sex (males, and females), and body condition score (1, 2, 3, 4, and 5).

The following linear model was used for the studied growth traits:

Yijklmnop = μ + ai + bj + ck + dl + fm + gn + ho + eijklmno

Where, Yijklmnop = adjusted weaning weight,

μ = population mean, ai = dam age effect (i = < 4, 4-7, 7-10, and >10 years old), bj = the BCS effect (j =1, 2, 3, 4, and 5), ck = the effect of calving season (k= 4: winter, spring, summer, autumn), dl = the effect of the sex of the calf (l=2: male, female), fm= effect of dam weight (≤ 300, 301-400, and > 400 kg), gn= effect of lactation period (≤130, 130-230, and > 230), ho= effect of milk yield (< 3, 3-5, 5-7, 7-9, and > 9 kg/day/head), eijklmnop = random error.

The Duncan multiple comparison was used after significant ANOVA test in sub-groups (Duncan 1955).

The adjusted 105 day weaning weight were calculated based on brith weights (Table 1) using the following formula:

A= [(BC)] / D x105 + C

Where:

A=105 day adjusted weaning weight (kg)

B= weaning weight (kg)

C=birth weight (kg)

D=weaning age (days)

Table 1. Characteristics of the data structure and summary of statistics

Traits

Values

Number of calves

180

Number of dams

64

Number of sires

16

Least squares means of weaning weight

94.6

Least squares means of birth weight

19


Results and discussion

Analysis showed that season had a significant (p<0.01) effect on weaning weight (Table 2).

Table 2. Least squares means and standard errors of Dhofari calves adjusted weaning weights affected by season.

Season

Calves
No.

Weaning
weight kg

Winter

66.000

98.9 ±1.87 ᵃ

Summer

30.000

91.4 ±2.34 ᵇ

Autumn

24.000

85.0 ±2.62 ᶜ

Spring

60.000

96.7 ±1.66 ᵃᵇ

Mean values followed by different subscripts are different (p<0.05)

Calves that weaned at winter season had the highest (98.9 1.87 kg) weight values compared to other season; this might be due to higher dam milk production and consumption by the calves and also higher milk ingredients such as fat and protein during winter season (Contreras et al 2015).

Dams' age had a significant (p<0.05) effect on calves weaning weight (Table 3).

Table 3. Least squares means and standard errors of Dhofari calves adjusted weaning weights affected by Dams age.

Dam age
year

Calves
No.

Weaning
weight kg

≤ 4

45

93.1 ±1.66 ᵃ

4 to 7

60

96.7 ±1.72 ᵇ

7 to 10

37

99.3 ±3.15 ᵇ

> 10

38

88.4 ±3.15 ᵃ

Mean values followed by different subscripts are significantly different (p<0.05)

Cows between the ages of 7 to 10 years old produced the highest weaning weight calves compared to those below 4 as found also by ( Pohlman et al 2016 ) with Angus-Hereford crossbred steers. This might be caused by dams milk supply for the calves as young cows do not produce as much milk as middle aged cows ( da Silva et al 2016).

Results showed that lactation period had a significant (p<0.05) effect on calves weaning weight (Table 4).

Table 4. Least squares means and standard errors of Dhofari calves adjusted weaning weights affected by lactation period.

Lactation
period day

Calves
No

Weaning
weight kg

30 to 130

60

88.8 ±3.27 ᵃ

130 to 230

55

95.0 ±1.17 ᵃᵇ

> 230

65

98.8 ±3.89 ᵇᶜ

Mean values followed by different subscripts are significantly different (p<0.05)

Cows that sustained milk production long enough above 230 days had calves with higher values for weaning weight as also found by Edwards and Sarah (2015). This could be due to the undisturbed availability of enough milk for these high weaning weight calves during their full weaning period compared to the others.

Cows that produced more milk, their calves had significantly (p<0.05) higher weaning weight (Table 5) as also found by (Edwards and Sarah 2015) for Angus breed.

Table 5. Least squares means and standard errors of Dhofari calves adjusted weaning weights affected by milk yield.

Milk yield
kg/head/day

Calves
No.

Weaning
weight kg

1 to 3

33

92.8 ±3.26 ᵃ

3 to 5

44

96.4 ±2.05 ᵇ

5 to 7

36

94.3 ±2.05 ᵇ

7 to 9

33

90.2 ±2.34 ᵃ

> 9

34

99.1 ±2.69 ᶜ

Mean values followed by different subscripts are different (p<0.05)

Cow that provided more milk to their calves above 9 kg/head/ day produced higher weaning weight near 99.1 2.69 kg than the lower ones (Table 5). This might be due to significant consumption of milk and metabolisable energy from milk as shown by (Cardoso et al 2015) in Holstein-Friesian cows.

Cows that had a body condition score between 3 to 4 produced significantly (p<0.05) higher weaning weight calves than the others (Table 6) which was also found by (Marques et al 2016).

Table 6. Least squares means and standard errors of Dhofari calves adjusted weaning weights affected by body condition score (BCS).

Body condition score

Calves
No.

Weaning
weight kg

2

62

85.5 ±2.87 ᵃ

3

60

93.6 ±1.36 ᵇ

4

58

96.9 ±3.31 ᵇ

Mean values followed by different subscripts are significantly different (p<0.05)

The weaning weight of calves was positively influenced by the cows body condition score especially during the third trimester of gestation (Marques et al 2016). Cows with higher BCS above 4 will only lose 0.45 to 0.90 kg of body reserve of supplements per head per day in comparison to thin cows ( Kunkle et al 1994), this might be the reason for the positive effect of high BCS of cows on their calves weaning weight.

Cow weight at parturition was found to have A significant (p<0.05) effect on calves weaning weight (Table 7) which was also found by (Bahashwan and Alfadli 2016).

Table 7. Least squares means and standard errors of Dhofari calves adjusted weaning weights affected by dam weight, and sex.

Dam weight

Calves
No.

Weaning
weight kg

≤ 300

50

92.5 ±1.79 ᵃ

301 to 400

60

94.8 ±1.40 ᵃ

> 400

70

102.4 ±3.72 ᵇ




Sex



Male

85

98.9 ±1.51 ᵃ

Female

95

90.8 ±1.40 ᵇ

Mean values followed by different subscripts are significantly different (p<0.05).

Heavier cows with weights of above 400 kg at parturition gave birth to heavier weaning weight calves (Bahashwan and Alfadli 2016). This might be due to the fact the these heavier cow would provide more milk (Spitzer et al 1995) and would be more nutrias for the development of their calves during the gestation period(Paputungan and Makarechian 2000). In addition, a significant positive correlation between dams weight and weaning weight of their calves do exist (Bahashwan and Alfadli 2016). The male calves were higher by almost 9% in their weaning weight than the females (Table 8) which was also found by (Mangwiro et al 2013) in Mashona cattle breed. This might be due to the fact that male calves have a faster growth rate than the females because of the difference in hormones and androgenic effect (Raff et al 2004).


Conclusion


Acknowledgement

This research was supported by Salalah livestock research station, Ministry of Agriculture and fisheries of Sultanate of Oman. Author would like to thank Mr. Mohammed Khadim, Mr. Abdullah Alrawas, and Mr. Salim Alfadly. Thanks to Dr. Ahmed Alshanfari, Dr. Hamood Alhasany and Dr. Ahmed Albakry.


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Received 2 September 2016; Accepted 7 September 2016; Published 1 October 2016

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