Failure of precalving supplementation of vitamin E and dietary fat to alter reproductive performance of first lactation cows or the health of their calves
Failure of precalving supplementation of vitamin E and dietar y fat to alter reproductive performance of first lactation cows or the health of their calves
J.L. Coalson 0
L.R. Corah 0
Gerald L. Stokka 0
Part of the Other Animal Sciences Commons 0
0 (Key Words: Vitamin E , Fat, Reproduction, Calf Health.)
Follow this and additional works at: http://newprairiepress.org/kaesrr Recommended Citation Coalson, J.L.; Corah, L.R.; Stokka, Gerald L.; and Blecha, Frank (1997) "Failure of precalving supplementation of vitamin E and dietary fat to alter reproductive performance of first lactation cows or the health of their calves," Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station Research Reports: Vol. 0: Iss. 1. https://doi.org/10.4148/2378-5977.1951
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Failure of precalving supplementation of vitamin E and dietary fat to alter
reproductive performance of first lactation cows or the health of their
A study was conducted to determine the effect of precalving supplementation with vitamin E and fat on the
reproductive performance of first lactation cows and the health of their calves. Approximately 50 days before
the first expected calving, 48 crossbred heifers were allotted to four treatments: 1) basal diet that consisted of
13 lb of prairie hay, 7.3 lb of milo, and 1 lb of supplement per heifer per day; 2) basal diet+supplement
bringing the diet to 4% fat; 3) basal diet+supplement providing 1000 IU supplemental vitamin E/day; and 4)
basal diet plus both fat and vitamin E. Supplementation of vitamin E and(or) fat had no effect on any
reproductive trait in the cows or any immunological measurement in the calves.
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FAILURE OF PRECALVING SUPPLEMENTATION OF
VITAMIN E AND DIETARY FAT TO ALTER
REPRODUCTIVE PERFORMANCE OF FIRST LACTATION
COWS OR THE HEALTH OF THEIR CALVES
A study was conducted to determine the
effect of precalving supplementation with
vitamin E and fat on the reproductive
performance of first lactation cows and the health of
their calv es. Approximately 50 days before the
first expected calving, 48 cro ssbred heifers were
allotte d to four treatments: 1) basal diet that
consiste d of 13 lb of prairie hay, 7.3 lb of milo,
and 1 lb of supplement per heifer per day; 2)
basal diet+supplement bringing the diet to 4%
fat; 3) basal diet+supplement providing 1000 IU
supplementa l vitamin E/day; and 4) basal diet
plus both fat and vitamin E. Supplementation
of vitamin E and(or) fat had no effect on any
reproductiv e trait in the cows or any
immunological measurement in the calves.
Previou s research has shown vitamin E
suppl ementatio n (500 to 1000 IU per cow per
day) before calving t oimprove the reproductive
performanc e of dairy cows and reduce the
incidenc e of conditions such as mastitis and
udder edema. T his benefit is apparently related
to vitam in E's function as an antioxidant and its
ability to prevent lipid peroxidation of
membranes. Information is limited on the precalving
use of vitamin Esupplementation in beef cattle.
An Alberta researcher reported a significant
red uction in the incidence of calf scours in
heifer s receiving 100 0 IU of vitamin E per day
for 60 to 100 days prior to calving.
1Department of Anatomy and Physiology.
The objective of our experiment was to
examin e the effect of precalving
supplementatio n of vitamin E with or without 4% total
dietary fat on reproductive traits of
first-lactation beef cows and immunological
measurements on their calves.
Approximatel y 50 days before the first
expecte d calving, 48 crossbred beef heifers
were allotte d randomly to four treatments: 1) a
basal diet consisting of 13 lb of prairie hay and
7.3 lb of grain sorghum, plus 1 lb of a basic
supplement per day ( control); 2) basal diet+1 lb
of a supplement to bring the diet to 4% fat; 3)
basal diet+ 1 lb of a supplement providing 1000
IU of supplemental vitamin E; and 4) basal
diet+both fat and vitamin E. The basic
supplement (c ontrol) consisted of 72% soybean meal,
27% gr ain sorghum, and 1% trace mineral
premix. In the suppleme nt containing the fat, grain
sorghu m was reduced to accommodate 24%
added fat. In the supplemen tcontaining vitamin
E, the grain sorghum was reduced to
accommodate 3.6% of a vitamin E supplement. The fat
was Fat Plus® (100% dry animal fat product;
Farmland Industries, Inc.).
Withi n each treatment, pregnant heifers
were allotted to replicates based on weight and
expected calving date, resulting in heavy,
average, and light weight replicates (n=4) . Heifers
were maintained as replicates until
approximatel y 14 to 16 days before their expected
calvi ng date, when they were transferred to a
calving unit and continuously maintained on
their respective dietary regimen until 48 h after
calving. Heifers were weighed at the onset of
dietar y treatments, precalving, and 36 to 40
hours after calving. Body co ndition scores were
assesse d at the beginning of the trial and just
To determine plasma concentrations of
vitam in E and selenium in the dams and their
calves , blood was collected at the beginning of
the trial, precalving, and 36 to 40 hours after
calving. Colostrum samples were collected
from each dam at 36 to 40 hours postcalving,
and colostral concentration of immunoglobulin
(IgG) was determined by t he use of single radial
immunodiffusio n plates c ontaining
monospecifi c antisera in buffere d agarose. To
deter mine the calf IgG status, blood was
collected from the calves at calving, before
suckling, and 36 to 40 hours later.
Beginnin g 44 days after the first calving,
weekl y blood samples wer e collected from the
cows and later analyzed for progesterone to
determine first occurren ce of postpartum
ovulation and luteal function. When serum
progesterone exceeded 1 ng/ml in two consecutive
samples, onset o festrous was presumed. Cows
were exposed to a bull for nat ural mating during
a 60-d breeding season.
Results and Discussion
Supplemental vitamin E and(or) fat had no
effect on body weights, body condition score,
rate of fetal membrane expulsion, interval to
first ovulation, or pregnancy rates at the end of
the breeding season (Table 2).
Neithe r fat nor vitamin E supplementation
had any impact on the immunoglobulin
concentration in ca lves, calf vigor, or their weaning
weight (Table 2).
Dry matter, %
Crude protein, %
Vit. Eg, IU/kg
Total Diet 88.5 9.6
aResults are expressed on a dry matter basis.
bPrairie hay and sorghum fed at the rate of 13 lb and 7.3 lb per heifer per day, respectively.
cSoybean meal fed as part of supplement, suppleme tnfed at the rate of l lb per heifer per day. Basic
supplement (control) consisted of: 72% SBM; 27% sorghum; 1.0% Z 10 mineral mix; and .004%
dVita min E treatment received the basic supplement with the following changes: sorghum was
reduced to accommodate vitamin E premix providing 1000 IU daily
eFat trea tment received the basic supplement with the following changes: sorghum was reduced to
accommodate 24% fat.
fVitamin E+fat received the basic supplem net modified to contain 24% fat and 1000 IU/day vitamin
E by removing sorghum.
hFat Plus™ 100 (100% dry animal fat product).
Effect of Maternal Treatment on Dam and Calf Weigh ts, Reproductive Traits,
Colostral Vitamin E, and Immune Status of the Neonatal Calves
1st nurse, min
1st stand, min
aBody condition score reported on a 1-8 scale (1=extremely thin; 5=moderate; 8=obese).
bPassive transfer: poor/low <800 mg/100 ml; moderate 800-1600 mg/100 ml; excellent >1600 mg/100 ml.