South African Journal of Animal Science
Print version ISSN 0375-1589
OBESE, F.Y. et al. Effect of concentrate supplementation during early lactation on plasma IGF-I concentrations and reproductive performance of dairy cows. S. Afr. j. anim. sci. [online]. 2011, vol.41, n.4, pp. 360-367. ISSN 0375-1589.
An experiment was conducted to assess the effects of body condition score (BCS) at calving and level of feed supplementation during early lactation on the Insulin-like growth Factor-I (IGF-I) and reproductive performance in 72 Holstein cows in a pasture-based system following seasonally-synchronized calving. At the start of the seasonal breeding, plasma IGF-I concentrations in cows that had recommenced ovarian activity with detected oestrus were compared with those in anoestrus. The cows (n = 72) were managed over a period of five months to calve in a BCS of 4, 5 or 6 - using a scale from 1 (thin) to 8 (obese). The cows were maintained on pastures and supplemented during early lactation with either 1 or 6 kg grain per day. The BCS at calving did not affect plasma IGF-I concentrations. The plasma IGF-I concentration at week 10 was elevated at the higher level of grain supplementation (87.8 vs. 72.1 ng/mL). Higher conception rate following the first insemination of cows calving with a BCS of 6 (71% vs. 46% and 37% for a BCS of 4 and 5, respectively) was associated with more cows in that group conceiving during the first three weeks of the artificial insemination (AI) programme (75% vs. 46% and 46% for a BCS of 4 and 5, respectively). At weeks 0 and 10, cows that commenced ovarian activity by the start of the intensive AI programme, recorded higher plasma IGF-I concentrations than anoestrous cows. These findings indicate that diet can affect the plasma IGF-I levels, which in turn may be involved in affecting the resumption of cyclic ovarian activity and conception in dairy cows.
Keywords : BCS; conception; dairy cows; IGF-I; postpartum period.