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The Importance of Temperament and Acclimation to Handling on Beef Cattle Production

APSC-175P The profitability of any cow-calf operation relies on the cows’ ability to overcome the challenge of becoming pregnant, and weaning one healthy calf, weighing around 50% of her body weight, every year. Ultimately, many factors will influence the reproductive performance of our beef females and temperament is one factor. Temperament is defined as the behavioral response an animal will have while handled. There are many ways we can measure and classify temperament in a herd, and all of those methods will rely on observing cattle behavior while being handled. When conducting research, we often assess temperament through chute and pen scores, as well as through exit velocities and those methods can be adapted to be used in any operation. We evaluated temperament in the first handling event of an estrus synchronization protocol in 297 replacement beef heifers from 3 different locations in VA. Our research indicates that cattle in VA are mostly calm and of adequate temperament with 29% of the heifers considered excitable, more interestingly, when exposed to an estrus synchronization and fixed-time artificial insemination protocol excitable heifers had decreased fertility when compared with heifer of adequate temperament. Selecting for heifers of adequate temperament will help improve reproductive efficiency.

 

8.5 x 11, 6 pages, DS, color, single staple upper left, 24#