Submitted to: Florida Cattleman
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: August 20, 2004
Publication Date: August 20, 2004
Citation: Chase, C.C. 2004. Beef cattle research at the stars. Florida Cattleman.August 2004.Vol. 68, No. 11,pp 46-48,50. Technical Abstract: Crossbreeding research has consistently documented higher levels of heterosis or hybrid vigor in Bos indicus x Bos taurus cows compared to Bos taurus x Bos taurus cows, and the F1 Brahman cow is the standard of comparison in the south. Purebred Brahman, however, are required to generate F1s and have been criticized for poor reproductive and feedlot performance, aggressive temperament, and low newborn calf survivability. Additionally, researchers have reported inferior carcass traits and palatability of beef from carcasses that have a high percentage of Brahman breeding. Consequently, there is a need to assess the feasibility of selection programs, including carcass selection programs, within the Brahman breed. During the last 20 years, major research projects have been conducted with the Brahman cowherd at STARS. The Brahman cowherd was divided into small, medium, and large frame size groups and bred to similar frame size bulls (i.e., small to small, large to large, etc.). Results from that study clearly demonstrated the negative consequences of large frame size on reproduction and production performance particularly as young cows. A subsequent study was conducted with the Brahman cowherd to determine the genetic control of tenderness in Brahman cattle. Results from that study indicated that selection for improvement in carcass traits such as marbling and USDA quality grade should make good progress, however, selection for improvement in palatability traits such as tenderness may be slow. Other studies at STARS have evaluated other tropically adapted breeds including the Senepol, Tuli, and currently the Romosinuano. Studies indicate a relatively early age at puberty for the Romosinuano and preliminary carcass information appears good. Reproductive and production performance of purebred and crossbred Romosinuano cows will be forthcoming and of value to cattlemen in the subtropics.