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Reproductive performance of extensively managed beef heifers mated at 14 or 26 months in the Central Bushveld Bioregion

S.M. Grobler
M.M. Scholtz
F.W.C. Neser
L. Morey
J.P.C. Greyling


In South Africa, little local information is available on the value of early mating of extensively kept beef heifers. In contrast, international information is mainly restricted to dairy cattle and intensive production systems. The research was undertaken to evaluate the calving percentage of Bonsmara heifers mated for the first time in an extensively managed beef herd at either 14 or 26 months. Fifty percent of the heifers were mated at 14 months, while the other 50% were mated at 26 months of age for 90 days during the summer mating season (January to March). The research was conducted over six years (2009 to 2014). A 23 factorial analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed using the six years as block replications. This was done because different animals were evaluated every year. The calving percentage of heifers mated at 26 months was significantly higher than heifers mated at 14 months. From the current study, it seems unlikely that mating heifers at 14 months of age can improve on the traditional extensive system of mating heifers at 26 months on natural veld in the Central Bushveld Bioregion.

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eISSN: 2413-3221
print ISSN: 0301-603X