Recent Advancements in Fetal Programming
Volume 16, Issue 1 - June 2023
Editor: Linda Chalker-Scott
With increasing environmental pressures, consumer demands and competition for agricultural inputs, the cattle industry will need to find new and innovative ways to improve cattle performance, while using fewer resources. In cow-calf production systems, low quality forages are often used to feed pregnant cows, which can lead to nutrient inconsistencies and opportunities for maternal undernutrition to occur. Fetal programming is one strategy that could mitigate these inconsistencies in cow-calf systems. Fetal programming is changing offspring performance by manipulating the maternal environment while offspring are still in utero. Fetal programming methodologies can be implemented, through positive maternal nutritional management, to improve the performance of their offspring potentially resulting in higher value cattle. The impacts of fetal programming, positive and negative, can influence post-natal performance, growth, health and reproductive abilities. Fetal programming highlights a unique opportunity for producers to influence cattle performance at the beginning, without significant inputs later in their production lifecycle. This paper brings together a review of key concepts in fetal programming with practical applications to real-world livestock production.
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