June 20, 2024

Interpretive Summary: Vitamin and mineral supplementation to beef heifers during gestation...

Interpretive Summary: Vitamin and mineral supplementation to beef heifers during gestation: impacts on morphometric measurements of the neonatal calf, vitamin and trace mineral status, blood metabolite and endocrine profiles, and calf organ characteristics at 30 h after birth

By: Jennifer L Hurlbert, Ana Clara B Menezes, Friederike Baumgaertner, Kerri A Bochantin-Winders, Isabella M Jurgens, James D Kirsch, Samat Amat, Kevin K Sedivec, Kendall C Swanson, Carl R Dahlen

Vitamins and minerals are essential for the reproduction, performance, skeletal support, and overall health of beef cattle. During pregnancy, vitamins and minerals are critical for proper fetal growth, development, and establishment of postnatal micronutrient reserves. The study objectives were to evaluate the impacts of vitamin and mineral supplementation to beef heifers throughout gestation on female offspring morphometric characteristics at birth, mineral status and blood metabolite/endocrine profiles of the dam and calf, histological evaluation of calf ovaries, and organ weights of the neonate at 30 h of age. We hypothesized that vitamin and mineral supplementation to the dam during pregnancy would increase calf size and organ masses, mineral status, and blood metabolite and hormone profiles. We observed no differences in calf body measurements, organ masses, and offspring ovarian reserve between calves from supplemented and nonsupplemented dams. However, Co, Se, and vitamin D status was increased in the supplemented dam and calf, and we propose that enhanced vitamin and mineral status at birth may support the underdeveloped immune system, growth performance, and overall health of the neonate in the postnatal period. Further research is warranted to investigate postnatal offspring health, performance, and efficiency of energy utilization in key metabolic tissues in the calf.

Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.