Date of this Version
J. Anim. Sci. 2011. 89:2373–2379
The objective of this study was to evaluate the growth curves of females to determine if mature size and relative rates of maturation among breeds differed. Body weight and hip height data were fitted to the nonlinear function BW = f(age) = A − Bek×age, where A is an estimate of mature BW and k determines the rate that BW or height moves from B to A. Cows represented progeny from 28 Hereford, 38 Angus, 25 Belgian Blue, 34 Brahman, 8 Boran, and 9 Tuli sires. Bulls from these breeds were mated by AI to Angus, Hereford, and U.S. Meat Animal Research Center III composite (1/4 Angus, ¼ Hereford, 1/4 Red Poll, and 1/4 Pinzgauer) cows to produce calves in 1992, 1993, and 1994. These matings resulted in 516 mature cows whose growth curves were subsequently evaluated. Hereford-sired cows tended to have heavier mature BW, as estimated by parameter A, than Angus- (P = 0.09) and Brahman-sired cows(P = 0.06), and were heavier than the other breeds (P < 0.001). Angus-sired cows were heavier than Boran-(P < 0.001) and Tuli-sired cows (P < 0.001), and tended to be heavier than Belgian Blue-sired cows (P = 0.097). Angus-sired cows did not differ from Brahman- sired cows (P = 0.94). Brahman-sired cows had a heavier mature BW than Boran- (P < 0.001), Tuli- (P < 0.001), and Belgian Blue-sired cows (P < 0.04). Angus-sired cows matured faster (k) than cows sired by Hereford (P = 0.03), Brahman (P < 0.001), Boran (P = 0.03), and Tuli (P < 0.001) sires, but did not differ from Belgian Blue-sired (P = 0.13) cows. Brahmansired cows took longer to mature than Boran- (P = 0.03) or Belgian Blue-sired cows (P = 0.003). Belgian Blue-sired cows were faster maturing than Tuli-sired cows (P = 0.02). Brahman-sired cows had reached a greater proportion of their mature BW at puberty than had Hereford- (P < 0.001), Tuli- (P = 0.003), and Belgian Blue-sired cows (P = 0.001). Boran-sired cows tended to have reached a greater proportion of their mature BW at puberty than had Angus-sired cows (P = 0.09), and had reached a greater proportion of their mature BW at puberty than had Hereford- (P < 0.001), Tuli- (P < 0.001), and Belgian Blue-sired cows (P < 0.001). Within species of cattle, the relative range in proportion of mature BW at puberty (Bos taurus 0.56 through 0.58, and Bos indicus 0.60) was highly conserved, suggesting that proportion of mature BW is a more robust predictor of age at puberty across breeds than is absolute weight or age.