Morehead State University

Poster Title

Evaluation of Frame Score and Pelvic Area in Yearling Beef Heifers

Presenter Information

Dawn Voet, Morehead State University

Institution

Morehead State University

Abstract

Calving difficulty in beef heifers increases a number of problems for the heifer and the producer. These include: calf death loss, dam death loss, delayed return of the heifer to estrus and lower conception rates. The producer, in turn, incurs increased labor and veterinary costs, as well as reduced weaning weights and lower market value. Nationwide, economic loss due to calving difficulty is approximately $750 million dollars annually. This project evaluated management efforts to increase pelvic area while concurrently decreasing frame score of beef heifers, which will allow producers to have heifers that calve with less difficulty and maintain body condition with less feed and better efficiency. We will also discuss the importance of using pelvic measurements in heifers and how this is related to the success of a cow/calf or replacement heifer operation. This project demonstrates the importance of using frame scores in heifers and how a very small or a very large frame score can be detrimental to heifer reproduction. We also evaluated how body condition relates to frame score, and the role both play in the maintenance of a pregnancy and lactation. Seven hundred (700) heifers were evaluated for frame score, pelvic area, and yearling weight on a Kentucky beef cattle farm from 1998-2003. The results of the data demonstrate how effective heifer production teams (owner, herd manager, veterinarian, university extension) have used genetic selection and intensive management to breed and produce heifers with larger pelvic area and lower frame scores.

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Evaluation of Frame Score and Pelvic Area in Yearling Beef Heifers

Calving difficulty in beef heifers increases a number of problems for the heifer and the producer. These include: calf death loss, dam death loss, delayed return of the heifer to estrus and lower conception rates. The producer, in turn, incurs increased labor and veterinary costs, as well as reduced weaning weights and lower market value. Nationwide, economic loss due to calving difficulty is approximately $750 million dollars annually. This project evaluated management efforts to increase pelvic area while concurrently decreasing frame score of beef heifers, which will allow producers to have heifers that calve with less difficulty and maintain body condition with less feed and better efficiency. We will also discuss the importance of using pelvic measurements in heifers and how this is related to the success of a cow/calf or replacement heifer operation. This project demonstrates the importance of using frame scores in heifers and how a very small or a very large frame score can be detrimental to heifer reproduction. We also evaluated how body condition relates to frame score, and the role both play in the maintenance of a pregnancy and lactation. Seven hundred (700) heifers were evaluated for frame score, pelvic area, and yearling weight on a Kentucky beef cattle farm from 1998-2003. The results of the data demonstrate how effective heifer production teams (owner, herd manager, veterinarian, university extension) have used genetic selection and intensive management to breed and produce heifers with larger pelvic area and lower frame scores.