Relationship between nutrition and reproduction in beef cattle.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The primary nutrient consideration for optimum reproductive performance in beef cattle is energy. Low energy intake delays the onset of puberty in heifers and bulls. Heifers should reach approximately 66 per cent of mature body weight by 14 to 15 months of age and be bred 30 days prior to breeding the main cow herd. Body conditioning scores (BCS) (1 = emaciated, 9 = obese) should be used to evaluate pregnant cows entering their third trimester. Cows should calve with body conditioning score 5 to 7. Forage quality and environmental factors influence maximum dry matter intake and nutrient requirements and must be considered in the clinical setting. Crude protein dietary content should be 11 to 12 per cent for lactating beef cattle. Mineral (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sulfur, sodium, chloride) nutrition is not a major cause of decreased reproductive performance in beef cattle. Trace mineral deficiencies (particularly selenium, copper, and zinc) can cause decreased reproductive performance. Diagnosis of these trace mineral deficiencies can be confirmed by elemental analysis of blood or tissues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)633-646
Number of pages14
JournalThe Veterinary clinics of North America. Food animal practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Animals


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