Department of Animal Science


Date of this Version



Published for Proceedings, The Range Beef Cow Symposium XII December 3, 4 & 5, 1991, Fort Collins, Colorado.


Crossbreeding serves the beef cattle industry as a tool to improve productivity through heterosis (hybrid vigor) and through complementarity (combining different breed strengths) to match genetic resources to various feed resources, climates, management levels and markets. Commercial cattlemen need to understand the principles of crossbreeding so they can adapt crossbreeding to their specific environment and needs. Seedstock breeders must be able to intelligently advise their commercial customers and know where their seedstock best fits into crossbreeding programs. Cattlemen today can be much more sophisticated in their approach to using crossbreeding. They realize many of the crossbreeding mistakes of the past were made because many breeds used were not well characterized and crossbreeding programs were not tailored to individual ranch needs. The knowledge level regarding crossbreeding has increased dramatically in recent years; now is an ideal time to plan or replan a crossbreeding program.