Agroscope Liebefeld-Posieux Research Station ALP, rte de la Tioleyre 4, 1725 Posieux

Effect of the suckler cow type on the post-weaning performances of Limousin yearlings

The purpose of this investigation was to study the effect of the suckler cow type, milk or meat, on the post-weaning performances of the yearlings and to examine the production of light carcasses with large size animals. Females and castrated males (in a 1:1 proportion) of a Limousin (Li) sire and F1 Red Holstein X Li (Li75) or Li (Li100) cows were compared during the finishing period in loose housing. The suckler herd was fed exclusively on grasslands until the weaning of calves at ten months of age. During finishing, the basic ration was made up of a mixture of maize and grass silage in a ratio of 3:1 of dry matter (DM), supplied ad libitum. A concentrate with similar quantities of DM was given. The suckler cow type and the pre-weaning performances of the yearlings had little effect on their post-weaning fattening performances, except for the duration of finishing. These were very good in all cases. The advance in weight at weaning of 23 % for Li75, obtained due to the higher milk output of the F1 suckler cows, was maintained after weaning, thus making it possible to reduce the duration of finishing by 37 % and the total intake of DM by 32 %. In a production system with both cow-calf production and finishing, particularly in grassland regions, it is preferable to use animals of the Li75 type. In other situations (only finishing or more intensive production areas), the Li100 type is also appropriate. With the type of animal used here and a minimal energy concentration of the ration of 7,5 MJ NEV/kg DM, it is possible to produce carcasses of less than 280 kg with large size animals with an optimal quality as regards the fatness score and conformation (meatiness).

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