• Crossbreeding for profit

     

    Why Crossbreed?

    There are a number of advantages in crossbreeding that have driven its uptake to the point where it has been estimated that the majority of the 28 million cattle produced in Australia are crossbred animals.

    Below are a range of documents that give you more information about crossbreeding with Charolais:

     

    Heterosis

    The most significant reason to crossbreed is to take advantage of the natural phenomenon known as Heterosis, or Hybrid Vigour. Heterosis or (Hybrid Vigour) is defined as the difference in an animals performance to that of the average of the parental breeds. The CRC (Cooperative Research Centre) for Beef calculates Heterosis as follows:

    [      (Average crossbred progeny – Average of parents)     ]       x 100
                                        Average of parents

    Objectives

    Understanding your objectives in beef production is paramount to any successful breeding program, including crossbreeding. These objectives may include:

    • Age and weight of cattle that are to be turned off.
    • Type of country that the cattle will run on.
    • Base herd. The breed of cattle that you have now will also influence your objectives.
    • Time frame for your operation.

    Advantages

    Some of the most widely recognised advantages of crossbreeding is that traits from different breeds can be incorporated without having to change breeds entirely. For instance, whether you operate a predominately Brahman, Santa Gertrudis or Droughtmaster based herd in the tropics, or a Hereford, Angus or Shorthorn based herd in temperate areas, you are still able to capitalise from Heterosis without changing the breed of cattle that has performed well for you in the past.

    Additionally, it has been recognised that some of the low heritable traits (those that do not respond quickly to selection pressure) such as fertility, can actually have a high response to crossbreeding (high Heterosis). This is one reason why crossbreeding in the north has become so popular.

    Crossbreeding Systems

    For information on crossbreeding systems, including an overview of the 5 basic crossbreeding systems identified by John Bertram in his book “Breeding for Profit”, please view the Future Beef Website

    Importance of Purebreds

    All crossbreeding systems require the continuing input of purebred animals. Regular crossing has led to stud breeders being required to maintain and improve straightbred populations for this purpose.

    Need more information?

    Contact the Society on 02 6771 1666 or email [email protected]