Live weight and age at puberty were determined in three strains of Holstein-Friesian dairy cattle in each of two consecutive years. The strains were overseas-origin high-breeding-worth genetics (OS), New Zealand-origin high-breeding-worth genetics (NZH), and New Zealand-origin low-breeding-worth genetics (NZL), similar to the New Zealand dairy cow of the 1970s. Onset of puberty was monitored by weekly measurement of progesterone in a total of 271 heifers. Animals were considered to have attained puberty when plasma progesterone concentrations were greater than 2ng/ml in two out of three consecutive samples. Live weight at puberty differed between the strains (OS > NZH > NZL; P<0.05) but not between years. Age at puberty was affected by strain in Year 1 (OS > NZH > NZL; P<0.01), but not in Year 2. The greater live weight required to attain puberty in OS genotype animals must be recognized in target live weights for rearing of heifers.

LR, McNaughton, SR Morgan, P Gore, GA Verkerk, CW Holmes, and TJ Parkinson

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 62, Palmerston North, 30-33, 2002
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