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Research Call

DAFM Reference

Lead(Collaborating)Institution

DAFM Award

DAFM National Call 2013 13 S 515 Teagasc (UCD, AFBI, ICBF, DAFM) €1,177,220

Project Title:

An intigrated multidisciplinary approach to improving the reproductive efficiency of seasonal calving beef cow herds in Ireland

Project Coordinator:

Dr. David Kenny

Project Abstract

There is clear evidence of a decline in the reproductive efficiency of Irish beef cow herds. For example, annually <0.8 calves are born per cow, and <25% of cows produce a calf every 365 d; calving interval is increasing (averages 407 d) and <10% of heifers calve for the first time at 24 months of age. Furthermore, only 17% of calves born to beef cows are bred through AI. We propose to examine key intrinsic and extrinsic factors critical to the reproductive efficiency of beef cows. New knowledge on obstacles to reproductive efficiency, as well as clear industry guidelines to improve reproductive management will be generated. Specifically, we will (i) establish genotype specific target growth trajectories to ensure early onset of puberty and optimum age at first calving; (ii) identify key gene expression profiles within adipose tissue, consistent with early onset of puberty; (iii) develop a robust oestrous synchronisation regimen to facilitate increased usage of AI; (iv) establish and quantify the contribution of various on farm factors, including endemic infectious diseases to the reproductive performance of beef cows; and (v) develop a robust bio-economic model to optimise beef cow reproductive management and national beef cattle genetic evaluations.

Final Report:

Not available yet.