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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Making a Crossbreeding System Work on Your Place

Author
item Macneil, Michael

Submitted to: Western Beef Producer
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: March 2, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Crossbreeding is one of the most beneficial management strategies for commercial beef production. A considerable volume of animal breeding literature documents favorable increases in productivity that can be realized by exploiting heterosis and heritable differences among breeds. Heterosis may increase weaning weight per cow exposed by up to 26% with only a 1% percent increase in energy consumption by cow-calf pairs. The economic return from heterosis may exceed $100 per cow in some circumstances. Exploiting heritable differences among breeds involves using breeds in specialized roles as sire or dam lines. Use of a terminal sire breed may increase the amount of retail product produced per cow in the breeding herd by 8%. The primary concern of this report will be the tailor-making of a crossbreeding system for an individual operation. Operational and market characteristics have been identified to help producers decide the utility of various breed resources and how best to exploit them in crossbreeding.

Technical Abstract: Crossbreeding is one of the most beneficial management strategies for commercial beef production. A considerable volume of animal breeding literature documents favorable increases in productivity that can be realized by exploiting heterosis and heritable differences among breeds. Heterosis may increase weaning weight per cow exposed by up to 26% with only a 1% percent increase in energy consumption by cow-calf pairs. The economic return from heterosis may exceed $100 per cow in some circumstances. Exploiting heritable differences among breeds involves using breeds in specialized roles as sire or dam lines. Use of a terminal sire breed may increase the amount of retail product produced per cow in the breeding herd by 8%. The primary concern of this report will be the tailor-making of a crossbreeding system for an individual operation. Operational and market characteristics have been identified to help producers decide the utility of various breed resources and how best to exploit them in crossbreeding.

Last Modified: 9/22/2014
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