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This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 94 No. 10, p. 4369-4375
     
    Received: May 29, 2016
    Accepted: July 14, 2016
    Published: September 22, 2016


    2 Corresponding author(s): heather.bradford25@uga.edu
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doi:10.2527/jas.2016-0683

Regional and seasonal analyses of weights in growing Angus cattle1

  1. H. L. Bradford 2a,
  2. B. O. Fragomenia,
  3. J. K. Bertranda,
  4. D. A. L. Lourencoa and
  5. I. Misztala
  1. a Department of Animal and Dairy Science, University of Georgia, Athens 30605

Abstract

This study evaluated the impact of region and season on growth in Angus seed stock. To assess geographic differences, the United States was partitioned into 9 regions based on similar climate and topography related to cow–calf production. Seasonal effects were associated with the month that animals were weighed. The American Angus Association provided growth data, and records were assigned to regions based on the owner’s zip code. Most Angus cattle were in the Cornbelt, Lower Plains, Rocky Mountain, Upper Plains, and Upper South regions, with proportionally fewer Angus in Texas compared with the national cow herd. Most calves were born in the spring, especially February and March. Weaning weights (WW; n = 49,886) and yearling weights (YW; n = 45,168) were modeled with fixed effects of age-of-dam class (WW only), weigh month, region, month–region interaction, and linear covariate of age. Random effects included contemporary group nested within month–region combination and residual. The significant month–region interaction (P < 0.0001) was expected because of the diverse production environments across the country and cyclical fluctuations in forage availability. Additionally, significant seasonal contrasts existed for several regions. Fall-born calves were heavier (P < 0.01) than spring-born calves in the hot and humid Lower South region coinciding with fall being the primary calving season. The North and Upper Plains regions had heavier, spring-born calves (P < 0.01), more than 90% spring calving, and colder climates. Interestingly, no seasonal WW or YW differences existed between spring- and fall-born calves in the upper South region despite challenging environmental conditions. Angus seed stock producers have used calving seasons to adapt to the specific environmental conditions in their regions and to optimize growth in young animals.

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