Influences of nutrition and metabolism on reproduction of the female ruminant
Ana Meikle, Victoria de Brun, Mariana Carriquiry, Pablo Soca, Cecilia Sosa, María de Lourdes Adrien, Pablo Chilibroste, José Alfonso Abecia
Beef cows and ewes grazing native pastures are exposed to cycles of undernutrition that reflect the seasonal variations of biomass production. In grazing dairy cows, the physiological undernutrition during early lactation due to increased demands for lactation and low dry matter intake is exacerbated by the need to get sufficient intake from pasture and the extra grazing energy costs. Undernutrition has profound impacts on reproduction by affecting multiple reproductive processes at different levels of the reproductive axis. The objective of this paper is to review the influence of undernutrition on reproductive events of the adult female ruminant, with emphasis on both grassland and mixed rain-fed grazing farming systems. The comparative endocrinology and reproductive biology among ewes, beef and dairy cows may provide a comprehensive knowledge of the metabolic and reproductive adaptation to feed restriction. Understanding the critical underlying physiological mechanisms by which nutrition affects reproduction is the base of focus feeding strategy to improve the reproductive performance of the female ruminant.
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