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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: COUNTERMEASURES TO CONTROL VIRAL DISEASES OF CATTLE Title: Birth and weaning traits in crossbred cattle from Hereford, Angus, Norwegian Red, Swedish Red and White, Wagyu, and Friesian sires

Authors
item Casas, Eduardo
item Thallman, Richard
item Cundiff, Larry

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 2, 2012
Publication Date: July 10, 2012
Citation: Casas, E., Thallman, R.M., Cundiff, L.V. 2012. Birth and weaning traits in crossbred cattle from Hereford, Angus, Norwegian Red, Swedish Red and White, Wagyu, and Friesian sires. Journal of Animal Science. 90:2916-2920. Available:http://www.journalofanimalscience.org/content/90/9/2916

Interpretive Summary: The beef industry is undergoing pressure to increase beef production. The objective of this project was to compare birth and weaning traits in offspring from Scandinavian and Japanese breeds with British breeds. Differences were evaluated in crossbred offspring produced by mating Hereford, Angus, Norwegian Red, Swedish Red and White, Friesian and Wagyu bulls to Hereford, Angus, and MARC III (¼ Hereford, ¼ Angus, ¼ Pinzgauer, and ¼ Red Poll) cows. Calves from Wagyu sires had the longest gestation length, and were the lightest at birth at 205 days. Breed differences can be exploited to optimize performance levels in crosses or in composite populations relatively more quickly than performance can be optimized by selection.

Technical Abstract: The objective of this study was to characterize breeds representing diverse biological types for birth and weaning traits in crossbred cattle. Gestation length, calving difficulty, percentage of unassisted calving, percentage of perinatal survival, percentage of survival from birth to weaning, birth weight, weaning weight, weight at 205 d, and ADG, was measured in 1,370 calves born and 1,285 calves weaned. Calves were obtained by mating Hereford, Angus, and MARC III (¼ Hereford, ¼ Angus, ¼ Pinzgauer, and ¼ Red Poll) mature cows to Hereford or Angus (British breeds), Norwegian Red, Swedish Red and White, Wagyu, and Friesian sires. Calves were born during the spring of 1997 and 1998. Sire breed was significant for gestation length, birth weight, weight at 205 d, and ADG (P < 0.001). Offspring from Swedish Red and White and Friesian had the shortest gestation length (282 d), while offspring from Wagyu sires had the longest gestation length (286 d). Progeny from British breeds were the heaviest at birth (40.5 kg) and at 205 d (237 kg), and grew faster (0.97 kg/d) than offspring from other breeds. Offspring from Wagyu sires were the lightest at birth (36.3 kg) and at 205 d (214 kg), and had the slowest growth (0.91 kg/d). Dam breed was significant for gestation length (P < 0.001), birth weight (P = 0.009), weight at 205 d, and ADG (P < 0.001). Offspring from Hereford cows had the longest gestation length (284 d), while offspring from Angus cows had the shortest (282 d). Offspring from MARC III cows were the heaviest at birth (39.4 kg) when compared to offspring from Hereford (38.2 kg) and Angus (38.6 kg) cows. Progeny from Angus cows were the heaviest at 205 d (235 kg) and grew faster (0.96 kg/d), while offspring from Hereford cows were the lightest at 205 d (219 kg) and were the slowest in growth (0.88 kg/d). Sex was significant for gestation length (P = 0.026), birth weight, weight at 205 d, and ADG (P < 0.001). Male calves had a longer gestation length (284 d) when compared to female calves (283 d). Males were heavier than females at birth and at 205 d, and grew faster. Sire breed effects can be optimized by selection and use of appropriate crossbreeding systems.

Last Modified: 7/30/2014