|Olson, T. - UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA|
Submitted to: Florida Cattleman
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 9, 2007
Publication Date: April 16, 2007
Citation: Chase, C.C., Riley, D.G., Olson, T.A., Coleman, S.W. 2007. Brahman x Angus F1’s Excel in Growth and Reproduction. Florida Cattleman. Vol.71(7)p.32-33. Technical Abstract: Crossbreeding research has consistently documented higher levels of heterosis, “hybrid vigor”, when Brahman are crossed with British or continental breeds than when British and/or continental breeds are crossed. In Florida, and throughout the Gulf Coast, Brahman genetics have been successfully utilized for heat tolerance, disease and parasite resistance, and ability to utilize low quality forages. These attributes, when combined with early puberty, superior meat quality, and high reproductive efficiency from British cattle, most often result in superior cows that are well adapted to Florida. The Brahman crossbred cow remains the gold standard of comparison for cow-calf efficiency in the southern U.S. At the STARS, we mated our Angus cows, using AI, to 10 Brahman sires for two years. Birth weights of Brahman x Angus bull calves were about 11 lb heavier than those of heifer calves. Some calving difficulty occurred and this was also reflected in about a 10% loss from calving to weaning. The problem of heavier birth weights of Brahman-sired bull calves from British breed dams is not uncommon. Brahman x Angus calves gained the fastest of all the breeds being studied and their weaning weights at 205 d of age were more than 40 lb greater than those of any of the other crosses. Brahman x Angus heifers were then developed in a replacement heifer program. The Brahman x Angus F1 heifers were bred to Angus bulls for their first calf and calved at an average of 25 months of age. Calving this young not only allowed these heifers to calf first as two-yr-olds but also gave them enough time to rebreed and to calve again in the subsequent season. Angus-sired calves from these Brahman x Angus heifers had birth weights (62 lb) which were similar or lighter than those of the other crossbred heifers and had the heaviest weaning weights (471 lb) of all crosses. Three- to eight-yr-old Brahman x Angus cows produced calves sired by Charolais bulls. Less than 2% of the Brahman x Angus cows required assistance at calving. Birth weights of Charolais-sired calves from Brahman x Angus cows were again similar to those of the other crosses. The ability of Brahman crossbred dams to restrict calf birth weight is one of their most important attributes. Furthermore, these calves gained faster and had the heaviest weights at weaning. Reproductive performance is the most important trait in cow-calf production. Averaged over six years, calf crop born was 89% for Brahman x Angus cows, while calf crop weaned was 86.1% and calf survival to weaning was 96.2%. For each of these traits the Brahman X Angus cow either surpasses or was equal to the next best breed cross. To summarize the results from these data from the mature Brahman x Angus cows, they needed only minimal assistance at calving due to having relatively low birth weight calves, they raised the heaviest calves at weaning, and they did so with rebreeding and weaning percentages that were either the best or comparable to those of all of the other breed crosses in the comparison.