Animal Science Department


Date of this Version

January 2004


Published in J. Anim. Sci. 2004. 82:74–84.


Breed differences for weight (CW), height (CH), and condition score (CS) were estimated from records (n &#;&#;12,188) of 2- to 6-yr-old cows (n &#; 744) from Cycle IV of the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center’s Germplasm Evaluation (GPE) Program. Cows were produced from mating Angus and Hereford dams to Angus, Hereford, Charolais, Shorthorn, Galloway, Longhorn, Nellore, Piedmontese, and Salers sires. Samples of Angus and Hereford sires were 1) reference sires born from 1962 through 1970 and 2) 1980s sires born in 1980 through 1987. The mixed model included cow age, season of measurement and their interactions, year of birth, pregnancy-lactation code (PL), and breed group as fixed effects for CW and CS. Analyses of weight adjusted for condition score included CS as a linear covariate. The model for CH excluded PL. Random effects were additive genetic and permanent environmental effects associated with the cow. Differences among breed groups were significant (P &#;&#;0.05) for all traits and were maintained through maturity with few interchanges in ranking. The order of F1 cows for weight was as follows: Charolais (506 to 635 kg for different ages), Shorthorn and Salers, reciprocal Hereford-Angus (HA) with 1980s sires, Nellore, HA with reference sires, Galloway, Piedmontese, and Longhorn (412 to 525 kg for different ages). Order for height was as follows: Nellore (136 to 140 cm), Charolais, Shorthorn, Salers, HAwith 1980s sires, Piedmontese, Longhorn, Galloway and HA with reference sires (126 to 128 cm). Hereford and Angus cows with reference sires were generally lighter than those with 1980s sires. In general, breed differences for height followed those for weight except that F1 Nellore cows were tallest, which may in part be due to Bos taurus-Bos indicus heterosis for size.