Bos Indicus Heifers: A Case Study

Age of puberty attainment in beef cattle is an important aspect for producers. This is because age at puberty is a key factor for a heifer’s lifetime reproductive performance. Beef cattle management programs aim for heifers to conceive by two years of age, but this can be a challenge when producing Bos indicus cattle. Puberty attainment in Bos indicus cattle is considerably lengthier than Bos taurus cattle, with the age at first calving typically being 40 months or more (Nogueira, 2003). However, it is possible to manage the age of puberty in Bos indicus heifers with proper nutritional management, genetic selection, biostimulation, and progesterone based treatments.
Late onset of puberty in Bos indicus cattle is believed to be partly environmental
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The effects of biostimulation originate from bodily responses to pheromones through olfaction, auditory, tactile, and visual stimulation. This is directly associated with the fact that pheromones interact with the hypothalamus to generate pulses of gonadotropin-releasing hormone. However, it is not clear how these cues are transmitted from male to female (Rekwot et al., 2001). Prepubertal heifers kept in the presence of a mature bull results in a significantly lower age at puberty and, as a result, a lower age at conception. This finding was indicated in a study where biostimulated females reached puberty earlier than non-biostimulated females, even compared to a group of non-biostimulated females that were nutritionally supplemented. (Oliveira et al., 2009). 58% of heifers kept in the presence of bulls while receiving improved nutrition reached puberty by 540 days, while only 33% of non-biostimulated heifers receiving improved nutrition reached puberty by 540 days (Oliveira et al., 2009). This finding is extremely beneficial for environments where it may be impossible to provide supplemental …show more content…
Oliveira, C.M.G., B.D. Oliveira Filho, M.L. Gambarini, M.A.O. Viu, D.T. Lopes, and A.F.P.
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Rekwot, P.I., D. Ogwu, E.O. Oyedipe, V.O. Sekoni. 2001. The role of pheromones and biostimulation in animal reproduction. Anim. Reprod. Sci. 65, 157–170.

Restle, J., V.A. Polli, and D.B. Senna. 1999. Efeito de grupo genético e heterose sobre a idade e peso à puberdade e sobre o desempenho reprodutivo de novilhas de corte. Pesq. Agropec. Bras. 34, 701–707.

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