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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Adapting Crossbreeding Systems to Individual Commercial Production Enterprises

Author
item Macneil, Michael

Submitted to: Hereford World
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: September 25, 2003
Publication Date: October 1, 2003
Citation: Macneil, M.D. 2003. Adapting crossbreeding systems to individual commercial production enterprises. Hereford World 94(5):54-57.

Interpretive Summary: Crossbreeding is one of the most beneficial management strategies for commercial beef production. One challenge that confronts purebred breeders is assisting their commercial customers with an instruction manual detailing how to use the seedstock efficiently and profitability. Because of the tremendous potential benefits to be derived from heterosis and breed differences, this instruction manual must include insight into how each customer can use crossbreeding. The primary concern of this article was to put forth factors to consider in tailor-making a crossbreeding system for an individual farm or ranch operation. Three general topics: characteristics of crossbreeding systems, factors involved in choosing a crossbreeding system, and synchronizing genetic resources with ranch resources were discussed. The desired outcome from this presentation is transferring the technology necessary for seedstock breeders to assist their commercial customers with implementation of an appropriate crossbreeding system.

Technical Abstract: Crossbreeding is one of the most beneficial management strategies for commercial beef production. One challenge that confronts purebred breeders is assisting their commercial customers with an instruction manual detailing how to use the seedstock efficiently and profitability. Because of the tremendous potential benefits to be derived from heterosis and breed differences, this instruction manual must include insight into how each customer can use crossbreeding. The primary concern of this article was to put forth factors to consider in tailor-making a crossbreeding system for an individual farm or ranch operation. Three general topics: characteristics of crossbreeding systems, factors involved in choosing a crossbreeding system, and synchronizing genetic resources with ranch resources were discussed. Nine factors: 1) relative merit of breeds available; 2) market endpoint for the calves produced; 3) pasture resources available; 4) size of the herd; 5) availability of labor at calving time; 6) availability of labor just before the breeding season; 7) method of obtaining replacements; 8) system of identifying cows; and 9) managerial ability and desire to 'make the system work' affect choice of a crossbreeding system. Breed selection is governed by two basic principles: 1) abundant high quality forage available during the lactation-breeding-grazing season implies that breeds of cows with relatively greater genetic potentials for milk production may be adapted, and 2) short and mild winters or relatively good nutritional environment implies that breeds of cows with relatively high maintenance requirements may be adapted. The desired outcome from this presentation is transferring the technology necessary for seedstock breeders to assist their commercial customers with implementation of an appropriate crossbreeding system.

Last Modified: 8/30/2014
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