Associations of blood analysis with feed efficiency and developmental stage in grass-fed beef heifers

Cônsolo, N., Munro, J., Bourgon, S., Karrow, N., Fredeen, A., Martell, J. and Montanholi, Y. (2018) Associations of blood analysis with feed efficiency and developmental stage in grass-fed beef heifers. Animals, 8 (8). p. 133.

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Proxies for feed efficiency, such as blood-based indicators, applicable across heifers varying in genetic makeup and developmental state are needed. Assessments of blood analytes and performance were made in heifer calves and pregnant heifers. Residual feed intake, a measure of feed efficiency, was used to categorize each population of heifers as either efficient or inefficient. Efficient heifer calves had lower mean cell hemoglobin, greater lymphocyte count, and fewer segmented neutrophils at the end of the test compared to inefficient calves. Efficient pregnant heifers had greater counts of lymphocytes with fewer segmented neutrophils at the end than inefficient pregnant heifers. Efficient heifer calves exhibited higher specific immunoglobulin M than inefficient calves. Throughout the test, efficient heifer calves had elevated potassium and phosphorus, and reduced alkaline phosphatase (ALP) compared to inefficient heifers. Efficient pregnant heifers showed greater ALP, non-esterified fatty acids and creatinine, but lower cholesterol and globulin than inefficient pregnant heifers. Levels of red and white blood cells, creatine kinase, cholesterol, glucose, potassium and phosphorus were higher in heifer calves compared with pregnant heifers. There is potential for blood analytes as proxies for feed efficiency; however, it is necessary to consider the inherent associations with feed efficiency and heifers’ developmental stage

Item Type: Article
Keywords: alkaline phosphatase, biomarker, hemoglobin, immunoglobulin, leukocyte, physiology indicator trait, potassium, pregnancy, residual feed intake, triiodothyronine
Divisions: Animal Production, Welfare and Veterinary Sciences (to 31.07.20)
Depositing User: Ms Kath Osborn
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2018 11:21
Last Modified: 12 Aug 2019 11:29

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