Dystocia a hot topic at farm field day
26th Jan 09, 10:39am
Once a heifer was in calf, managing her feed intake had no influence on the size of the fetus, research has shown. Sheep and Beef Council director Seamus Sullivan told a M&WNZ field day at Millers Flat that restricting feeding early in the pregnancy of first-calving heifers did not affect the size of the newborn calf because the heifer used her own reserves to support the growing fetus reports the ODT. Because of that, he said there were no negative consequences from restricting feed. The issue of calving difficulty in first-calving heifers, or dystocia, was a hot topic at the Millers Flat field day, but Mr Sullivan said the only known solutions were bull selection, to have heifers as well grown as possible before mating and keeping a close eye on them during calving. He said research showed heifers that were assisted with calving performed as well as non-assisted heifers in terms of weaning weight, milk intake and future breeding. While feed intake during pregnancy had no effect, any changes in birth weight were usually accompanied by a similar changes in the live weight of the heifer at calving, so not reducing the problem of feto-maternal disproportion, the greatest cause of dystocia in heifers.