Date of this Version
J. Anim. Sci. 2012.90:2916–2920
The objective of this study was to characterize breeds representing diverse biological types for birth and weaning traits in crossbred cattle (Bos taurus). Gestation length, calving diffi culty, percentage of unassisted calving, percentage of perinatal survival, percentage of survival from birth to weaning, birth weight, weaning weight, BW at 205 d, and ADG was measured in 1,370 calves born and 1,285 calves weaned. Calves were obtained by mating Hereford, Angus, and U.S. Meat Animal Research Center III (1/4 Hereford, 1/4 Angus, 1/4 Pinzgauer, and 1/4 Red Poll) mature cows to Hereford or Angus (British breeds), Norwegian Red, Swedish Red and White, Wagyu, and Friesian sires. Calves were born during the spring of 1997 and 1998. Sire breed was signifi cant for gestation length, birth weight, BW at 205 d, and ADG (P < 0.001). Offspring from Swedish Red and White and Friesian had the shortest gestation length (282 d), whereas offspring from Wagyu sires had the longest gestation length (286 d). Progeny from British breeds were the heaviest at birth (40.5 kg) and at 205 d (237 kg), and grew faster (0.97 kg/d) than offspring from other breeds. Offspring from Wagyu sires were the lightest at birth (36.3 kg) and at 205 d (214 kg), and had the slowest growth (0.91 kg/d). Dam breed was signifi cant for gestation length (P < 0.001), birth weight (P = 0.009), BW at 205 d, and ADG (P < 0.001). Offspring from Hereford cows had the longest gestation length (284 d), whereas offspring from Angus cows had the shortest (282 d). Offspring from U.S. Meat Animal Research Center III cows were the heaviest at birth (39.4 kg) when compared with offspring from Hereford (38.2 kg) and Angus (38.6 kg) cows. Progeny from Angus cows were the heaviest at 205 d (235 kg) and grew faster (0.96 kg/d), whereas offspring from Hereford cows were the lightest at 205 d (219 kg) and were the slowest in growth (0.88 kg/d). Sex was signifi cant for gestation length (P = 0.026), birth weight, BW at 205 d, and ADG (P < 0.001). Male calves had a longer gestation length (284 d) when compared with female calves (283 d). Males were heavier than females at birth and at 205 d, and grew faster. Sire breed effects can be optimized by selection and use of appropriate crossbreeding systems.