Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



24th Range Beef Cow Symposium, Nov. 17-19, 2015, Loveland, Colo.


Copyright 2015 R. L. Weaber.


The dramatic changes and volatility cow-calf production system input costs and calf values have many producers wondering about the value of heterosis in today’s beef industry pricing structure. Many producers are seeking ways to improve cow-calf production efficiency and profitability. Profitability may be enhanced by increasing the volume of production (i.e. the pounds of calves you market) and/or the value of products you sell (improving quality). The reduction of production costs, and thus breakeven prices, can also improve profitability. Better yet, improving the input:output ratio should enhance profit. For commercial beef producers, the implementation of technologies and breeding systems that increase the quality and volume of production and reduce input costs is essential to maintain or improve the competitive position of the operation. Some producers are thinking of establishing a more conventional straight breeding system to improve end-product value traits and want to understand the value they are giving up as they sacrifice heterosis, while other producers are considering the establishment of a planned crossbreeding system to capture the value of hybrid vigor. Either way, to make an informed decision, producers need to know the value generated in their herd by heterosis or hybrid vigor.

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