Animal Science Department


Date of this Version

December 1999


Published for Proceedings, The Range Beef Cow Symposium XVI December 14, 15 and 16, 1999 - Greeley, Colorado.


There are several important reasons the beef industry needed to develop multibreed genetic evaluation capabilities:

• Multibreed analyses procedures do a better job of evaluating breeding values of individuals with two or more breeds in their pedigree.

• This new technology provides information that more closely matches the potential genetics in current and future beef production systems.

• U.S. Beef Producers want to alternate breeds to take advantage of crossbreeding and biological type complementarity.

• The beef industry wants to utilize composite seedstock that benefit from seedstock production heterosis and provide heterosis in commercial production systems.

• The long term impact will be our ability to rank and evaluate the potential genetic value of any animal regardless of breed composition.

These reasons hinge on the premise that beef production is enhanced by heterosis. Agriculture has "harnessed" heterosis in plant production (especially grains), poultry and pork. For several reasons, crossbreeding has been more difficult for beef producers to use in a sustainable way; however, producers who employ heterosis know the benefits of reproduction, growth and efficiency traits.