Genetic x environment interactions on blood constituents of Angus, Brahman, and reciprocal-cross cows and calves grazing common bermudagrass or endophyte-infected tall fescue

J Anim Sci. 2001 May;79(5):1151-61. doi: 10.2527/2001.7951151x.


Over a 2-yr period, effects of genotype and forage on blood metabolites, enzymes, and minerals were determined in Angus, Brahman, Angus x Brahman (sire x dam), and Brahman x Angus cows, and 129 calves from these cows sired by Hereford bulls. Cows and calves continuously grazed either common bermudagrass or endophyte-infected 'Kentucky-31' tall fescue pastures throughout the year. Blood samples were collected via jugular venipuncture in April, August, October (weaning), and November (after 30 d in a feedlot) of each year. Plasma urea N concentrations of cows and calves were affected by forage (P < 0.01) and breed (P < 0.05). Plasma cholesterol and FFA concentrations of cows were affected by forage (P < 0.01) and breed (P < 0.05). In calves, antibody titers to infectious bovine rhinotracheitis virus were not affected by forage but were affected by breed. Serum inorganic P concentrations of calves and cows were affected by forage (P < 0.05). Serum P concentrations and alkaline phosphatase activity of calves were affected by breed (P < 0.05). Calves grazing bermudagrass had higher (P < 0.05) serum concentrations of Fe and total iron binding capacity (TIBC). There was evidence of maternal heterosis for concentrations of free fatty acids, cholesterol, aspartate aminotransferase, Ca, Mg, alkaline phosphatase, ceruloplasmin, Fe, and TIBC. There was evidence of grandmaternal effects for plasma concentrations of urea N, cholesterol, Ca, P, Mg, and alkaline phosphatase. These results suggest that calves and cows grazing tall fescue are generally on a lower plane of nutrition than those grazing bermudagrass and that Brahman x Angus and Angus x Brahman crossbred cows and their calves seen to be more tolerant of the negative effects of tall fescue than the average of their purebred contemporaries.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / analysis
  • Blood Chemical Analysis / veterinary*
  • Breeding
  • Cattle / blood*
  • Cattle / genetics*
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Environment
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Hypocreales*
  • Iron / analysis
  • Male
  • Poaceae* / microbiology
  • Urea / blood


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Urea
  • Cholesterol
  • Iron