Bull selection and use in Northern Australia. Part 4. Calf output and predictors of fertility of bulls in multiple-sire herds

Holroyd, R.G., Doogan, V.J., De Faveri, J., Fordyce, G., McGowan, M.R., Bertram, J.D., Vankan, D.M., Fitzpatrick, L.A., Jayawardhana, G.A., and Miller, R.G. (2002) Bull selection and use in Northern Australia. Part 4. Calf output and predictors of fertility of bulls in multiple-sire herds. Animal Reproduction Science, 71 (1). pp. 67-79.

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Abstract

On 10 northern Australian properties, the number of calves sired (calf output) by individual bulls in multiple-sire matings was measured by DNA typing for paternity. There were 235 bulls (92 Santa Gertrudis, 25 5/8 Brahman and 119 Brahman) from 37 multiple-sire mating groups. Number of bulls in groups ranged from 2 to 25 and ages of bulls ranged from 2 to 5 years. Mating periods were for 3–12 months and bull mating percentages were 2.5–6%. In all, there were 4251 calves tested and the resolution of paternity ranged from 92.5 to 100% and averaged 97.7% across all sites. This included 9.9% of calves with no potential sires in any of the mating groups. Of the 235 bulls mated, 58% sired 10% or less calves in each of their respective mating groups with 6% not siring any calves. In contrast, 14% sired over 30% of the calves in each of the respective mating groups. When bulls were mated in groups of 8–24, the maximum percent of calves sired by individual bulls was 26±7% (mean±S.D.) with a range 11–36%. However, when bulls were mated in groups of 2–7, the maximum percent of calves sired by individual bulls was 59±19% with a range 24–94%. Calf output of bulls was moderately repeatable across years at four of five sites. Multiple regression models relating pre-mating measures of physical, seminal and behavioural traits to calf output were developed for the three breed groups. In all, only 138 of the 235 bulls were included in the models (40 Santa Gertrudis, 24 5/8 Brahman and 74 Brahman). Sheath and testicular traits, such as scrotal circumference and testicular tone, were generally not related to calf output, the exceptions being sheath depth in Brahman bulls which was negatively related (P<0.05) and scrotal circumference in 5/8 Brahmans which was positively related (P=0.08) to calf output. Dominance was only included in the 5/8 Brahman model but there was no significant relationship between dominance hierarchy and calf output. Semen motility was only related (P<0.05) to calf output in 5/8 Brahmans. However, measures of semen quality based on spermatozoa morphology were important contributors to calf output in the Santa Gertrudis and Brahman models where percent normal spermatozoa was positively related (P<0.01) to calf output. In Santa Gertrudis and Brahman bulls, measures of sexual behaviour in the serving capacity test were related to calf output. In Santa Gertrudis, these were for the number of displays of sexual interest (P<0.05), and mounts (P<0.01), but not number of serves, whilst in Brahman bulls, libido score was positively related to calf output (P<0.05). The models only explained 35–57% of the variation in calf output.

Item ID: 13461
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: Bos indicus; multiple sire mating
ISSN: 0378-4320
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2010 00:50
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0702 Animal Production > 070206 Animal Reproduction @ 100%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8303 Livestock Raising > 830301 Beef Cattle @ 100%
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