Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type





Animal Science

First Advisor

Dr. Eric Vanzant


Increased BCS at calving due to nutritional manipulation during the prepartum period resulted in greater mobilization of body fat after calving, regardless of plane of nutrition during the last 60 d of gestation. Although fatter cows were shown to have greater mobilization of reserves during the postpartum period, they maintained greater BCS at all points from calving to weaning compared to cows calving with fewer reserves at calving. A unique finding of this experiment was that the variation in BCS at calving was positively associated with BCS loss for cows fed to accrete BC during the prepartum period but was not associated with BCS loss for cows fed at maintenance levels during gestation. This finding suggests a threshold response in which BCS loss postpartum is only related to BCS at calving of 6.5 or greater. Progeny of fatter cows were heavier at d 40 and 84, but no treatment differences existed at weaning. The relationship between BCS at calving and calf BW at d 40 differed by treatment. This suggests a threshold response in which calf BW is positively related to increases in BCS up to 5.75. At BCS ≥ 5.75 calf weights were greater than at lower BCS levels but were unrelated to incremental changes in BCS.

Altering dietary energy level during mid and late gestation altered the net lipolytic rate of beef cows and altered the timing of changes in tissue sensitivity and total lipolysis. Basal release of NEFA did not change for cows on a maintenance diet, but increased significantly for fatter cows prior to calving, whereas basal glycerol was unaffected by treatment. The stimulated release of glycerol was also unaffected by treatment, but increased across all periods. The ratio of stimulated glycerol and

NEFA release to basal release of glycerol and NEFA indicate that the AT of HI cows has a delayed response to the increase in sensitivity to lipolytic stimulants that is associated with homeorhetic adaptations; however, at 7 d after calving, no differences were observed for net or total lipolytic capacity of the tissue. Providing mature beef cows ad libitum access to a high‐energy diet alters pre‐calving sensitivity of AT, but after calving and when animals are receiving a common diet, no differences in lipolysis were observed. Thus, BCS (4.91 to 6.56), as manipulated by diet, does not appear to impair lipolytic function and regulation in beef cows as observed in dairy cows.