Date of this Version
Agricultural Research Service U.S. Department of Agriculture, June 1999.
Breed differences in performance characteristics are an important genetic resource for improving efficiency of beef production. Diverse breeds are required to exploit heterosis and complementarity through crossbreeding and composite populations to match genetic potential with diverse markets, feed resources and climates. Beef producers are under increasing pressure to reduce fat while maintaining or improving tenderness and palatability of products. No single breed excels in all traits of importance to beef production. Previous results have shown that Bos indicus X Bos taurus (e.g., Brahman, Sahiwal and Nellore sired F1cows out of Hereford and Angus dams) crosses were exceptionally productive and efficient cows, especially in a subtropical environment (e.g., Florida versus Nebraska). However, as the proportion Bos indicus increased, the advantages of Bos indicus crosses were tempered by older age at puberty and reduced meat tenderness. This report presents preliminary results from Cycle V of Germplasm Evaluation Program at the Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (MARC) focusing primarily on characterization of some heavy muscled continental European breeds and some tropically adapted breeds compared to Hereford and Angus sired crosses for characteristics of importance in beef production.