U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version


Document Type



United States Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service, ARS-1-2, May 1990.


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 to match genetic potential with diverse markets, feed resources and climates. This report presents preliminary results from an ongoing study at the Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center to characterize breeds of cattle representing different biological types for traits that influence quantity and value of production.

Experimental Procedure:

The Germ Plasm Evaluation (GPE) program has been conducted in four cycles. Table 1 shows the mating plan for cycles I, II, III, and IV. Each cycle was initiated by mating Hereford and Angus cows by artificial insemination (AI) to sires of diverse breeds. Semen from the same Hereford and Angus bulls has been used throughout to produce control Hereford-Angus (original HAx, sires born 1968-70) reciprocal crosses in each cycle. In cycle IV, new samples of Hereford and Angus (current HAx, sires born 1982-84) bulls were added to evaluate genetic trends within these breeds. In cycle IV, semen from 14 original control Angus, 11 original control Hereford, 30 current Angus, 32 current Hereford (14 horned and 18 polled), 29 Longhorn, 24 Piedmontese, 31 Charolais, 29 Salers, 31 Galloway, 22 Nel1ore, and 26 Shorthorn bulls is being used by AI to produce about 200 calves per sire breed in five calf crops (1986-1990). Following an AI period of about 45 days, one or two bulls each of Angus, Hereford, Charolais, Gelbvieh, and Pinzgauer bulls are used each year by natural service in single-sire breeding pastures for about 21 days. These breeds are being used in clean-up matings to increase ties to previous cycles and facilitate eventual pooling of results over all four cycles.