crossbred bull question

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pdubdo

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I've had a small herd of 5 red angus for 4 years now so still quite new to this. I process and sell 1-2 a year to friends/family and sell/sale barn the rest. I'd like to add some heterosis to my calves and have the option to buy a reasonably priced Charolais-highland bull from a trusted ranch. I kinda like that the highland genetics "might" add a little forage efficiency. But everything I read on cross-breeding emphasizes crossbred dams with purebred sires. Is this still worth thinking about or should I stick with RA bulls? Is there some common wisdom on crossbred bulls with purebred dams?
 

Warren Allison

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You do not want to use a across bred bull. Some of the calves would be Char x RA, and some would be Highland x RA. Out of al the bos taurus cattle, Hereford and Angus share virtually zero DNA. Hereford x Angus gives you maximum heterosis. A polled Hereford bull would work great for you. Given your location, a Braford bull would be a great choice as well.
 

Ky hills

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With just a few cows, it's not practical in my opinion to go out and purchase a high priced registered bull. I can't say that I would choose a HighlandX, but some crossbred bulls would likely be fine especially for a small herd of cows. We are currently using a crossbred bull.
 

simme

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This topic has come up before. Seems like many believe that a crossbred bull should not be used. That it is a mongrel that will not have genetic merit and will not produce predictable consistent progeny. I have seen many purebred registered bulls that I would not want on my cows. Many crossbred bulls that I would not use. But I have used some crossbred bulls and been happy with the results. AI bred a couple weeks ago, mostly to crossbred bulls.

There are some breeds that are "pure" in the sense that they are recorded in a breed registry that goes back hundreds of years. There are some "breeds" that are newer. Take Brangus for instance. 3/8 brahma and 5/8 angus. Cross a brahma and an angus and get a 50/50 percent crossbred. Take some of those 50/50 cows and breed to an angus and get a 25/75 percent crossbred. Take one of those 25/75 percent and breed to one of those 50/50 percent. Now you have a 3/8 brahma and 5/8 angus. Is it a crossbred or is it now a purebred brangus? Best I know you can still make registered brangus following the path I just listed. Did the two crossbred parents produce a purebred brangus?

Is a registered beefmaster a crossbred or a purebred? Three breeds in that recipe. Remember Jim Leachman? Master marketer of red angus cattle. Started with black angus at Ankony. Then red angus in Montana. Dabbled in south devon, salers, gelbvieh, and other continental breeds. Developed a multibreed crossing that he termed and trademarked as "Stabilizers". Were those purebreds or crossbreds? Pushed the idea that after several generations of breeding these crossbreds, their genetics were "stabilized" like a purebred. Leachman sold over 3000 bulls per year, many produced by cooperator herds. He was a master marketer.

When you cross two or three breeds and get those crossbred cows, can you decide that after reaching some defined percent mix of the breeds for x generations - that they are now purebreds? What percentages and what number of generations ensure consistent genetics and a consistent calf crop? Are Brangus and Beefmaster purebreds? Are they suitable for herd bulls? I have questions, but not all the answers.

I have simmental cows and use simmental, angus and simangus (crossbred) bulls. Simangus animals are recorded in the American Simmental Association. There is no defined percent split of the two breeds. They are crossbred. The simangus bull I used for AI this year sold for $40,000. Semen was $40/straw. That don't make him good or bad but indicates that some people are not concerned with using a crossbred bull. I am one of those people. My bull selections are based on a lot more than if he is purebred or not. I will admit that I am not as smart as I think I am. Same as those that say you should never use a cross bred bull.

Look at chicken and pigs. You won't find many purebreds in a commercial production operation now. But you will find very consistent and very efficient animals that breed true.

Just my thoughts. Some will disagree.
 

Rmc

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I would try it . I have seen a increase in feed efficiency on the few crossbred highland cows we have . Their calves sell at the same price as our other calves and are usually at the higher end of weaning weights.
It always makes me wonder why highland isn’t used more in more of the northern climates.
No one gives it a second thought to add ear to the cows in the south to help with the environment but it is taboo to do the same thing in the north . Why?
 

Caustic Burno

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This topic has come up before. Seems like many believe that a crossbred bull should not be used. That it is a mongrel that will not have genetic merit and will not produce predictable consistent progeny. I have seen many purebred registered bulls that I would not want on my cows. Many crossbred bulls that I would not use. But I have used some crossbred bulls and been happy with the results. AI bred a couple weeks ago, mostly to crossbred bulls.

There are some breeds that are "pure" in the sense that they are recorded in a breed registry that goes back hundreds of years. There are some "breeds" that are newer. Take Brangus for instance. 3/8 brahma and 5/8 angus. Cross a brahma and an angus and get a 50/50 percent crossbred. Take some of those 50/50 cows and breed to an angus and get a 25/75 percent crossbred. Take one of those 25/75 percent and breed to one of those 50/50 percent. Now you have a 3/8 brahma and 5/8 angus. Is it a crossbred or is it now a purebred brangus? Best I know you can still make registered brangus following the path I just listed. Did the two crossbred parents produce a purebred brangus?

Is a registered beefmaster a crossbred or a purebred? Three breeds in that recipe. Remember Jim Leachman? Master marketer of red angus cattle. Started with black angus at Ankony. Then red angus in Montana. Dabbled in south devon, salers, gelbvieh, and other continental breeds. Developed a multibreed crossing that he termed and trademarked as "Stabilizers". Were those purebreds or crossbreds? Pushed the idea that after several generations of breeding these crossbreds, their genetics were "stabilized" like a purebred. Leachman sold over 3000 bulls per year, many produced by cooperator herds. He was a master marketer.

When you cross two or three breeds and get those crossbred cows, can you decide that after reaching some defined percent mix of the breeds for x generations - that they are now purebreds? What percentages and what number of generations ensure consistent genetics and a consistent calf crop? Are Brangus and Beefmaster purebreds? Are they suitable for herd bulls? I have questions, but not all the answers.

I have simmental cows and use simmental, angus and simangus (crossbred) bulls. Simangus animals are recorded in the American Simmental Association. There is no defined percent split of the two breeds. They are crossbred. The simangus bull I used for AI this year sold for $40,000. Semen was $40/straw. That don't make him good or bad but indicates that some people are not concerned with using a crossbred bull. I am one of those people. My bull selections are based on a lot more than if he is purebred or not. I will admit that I am not as smart as I think I am. Same as those that say you should never use a cross bred bull.

Look at chicken and pigs. You won't find many purebreds in a commercial production operation now. But you will find very consistent and very efficient animals that breed true.

Just my thoughts. Some will disagree.
The problem with your Brangus and Beefmaster analysis is they are a composite that breeds true with predictable EPD’s. That is not true of the crossbred bull.
 

Rmc

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Brangus breed has been selectively bred for long enough and selected for more and more of the angus genetics that now you get a lot less hybrid vigor when crossed with angus . Almost like crossing two angus .
So you can tell yourself you are crossing two purebred animals. But it is costing you a lot of hybrid vigour that you would have if you crossed a angus/Brahman with a registered angus . Taking money out of your pocket ,but your ego feels better about not using a crossbred bull.
 

simme

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The problem with your Brangus and Beefmaster analysis is they are a composite that breeds true with predictable EPD’s. That is not true of the crossbred bull.
Let's discuss that. What makes them composite as opposed to crossbred? At what point do they become composite from the initial F1 crossing of purebreds and then 2 more generations to hit 3/8 and 5/8? Is a 3/8 and 5/8 simangus different from a brangus in terms of composite or crossbred? If you have 3/8 and 5/8 simangus bred for multiple generations, are they then composite? I have never seen any published data on that.
 

Caustic Burno

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Let's discuss that. What makes them composite as opposed to crossbred? At what point do they become composite from the initial F1 crossing of purebreds and then 2 more generations to hit 3/8 and 5/8? Is a 3/8 and 5/8 simangus different from a brangus in terms of composite or crossbred? If you have 3/8 and 5/8 simangus bred for multiple generations, are they then composite? I have never seen any published data on that.
Seven generations is what LSU used in developing the Brangus standard.
This is a long ways from a crossbred bull.
“The Brangus breed was developed around 1932 from Angus and Brahman cattle by U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists at the Livestock Experiment Farm, later to become the Iberia Research Station in Jeanerette. Brangus cattle are 3/8 Brahman and 5/8 Angus. After the USDA work, a group of individuals used the data and produced the commercial line of the Brangus breed. From that combination, several others were developed including Braford, Santa Gertrudis and Beefmaster”
 

Rmc

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Let's discuss that. What makes them composite as opposed to crossbred? At what point do they become composite from the initial F1 crossing of purebreds and then 2 more generations to hit 3/8 and 5/8? Is a 3/8 and 5/8 simangus different from a brangus in terms of composite or crossbred? If you have 3/8 and 5/8 simangus bred for multiple generations, are they then composite? I have never seen any published data on that.
The problem is brangus are no long 5/8angus 3/8 Brahman genetically
They have a much higher angus genome then the 5/8 angus do to breeding selection.
Here is a article on loss of hybrid vigor
 

Rmc

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To get maximum hybrid vigor you loose predictably and breeding true.
They are polar opposite and don’t exist in harmony. If you gain in hybrid vigor you loose in predictability and breeding true.
You gain in predictability and breeding true and you loose hybrid vigor.
Hybrid vigor is a direct result of heterozygosity.
Breeding true and predictability is a direct result of homozygosity .
 

simme

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Seven generations is what LSU used in developing the Brangus standard.
This is a long ways from a crossbred bull.
“The Brangus breed was developed around 1932 from Angus and Brahman cattle by U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists at the Livestock Experiment Farm, later to become the Iberia Research Station in Jeanerette. Brangus cattle are 3/8 Brahman and 5/8 Angus. After the USDA work, a group of individuals used the data and produced the commercial line of the Brangus breed. From that combination, several others were developed including Braford, Santa Gertrudis and Beefmaster”
It appears that the Brangus association still allows a breeding up program to make registered brangus without the 7 generations. Requires the Brahma and the Angus to be registered in their breed registries and then registered as foundation animals in the brangus registry and then bred up to the 3/8 and 5/8 level. Independent of the original genetics used in the brangus development. That's the way I interpret the info on their website. Appears that they are considered "brangus" when they hit the percent levels.


More info here.
 

Hippie Rancher

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my take is a little different. first, do you have the facilities to keep a bull? 5 head isn't really where I would be looking to invest in one full time. wait until you have 20-25 cows.

next, while a charxhighlander is a heck of a nice animal to sell, the potential for some goofy behavior would be a major concern to me.

finally, is the whole issue of crossbred bulls...with that cross on straight red angus you may do ok no matter what he throws, but again...I worry more about adding potential crazy to a herd.
 

daneg

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I would try it . I have seen a increase in feed efficiency on the few crossbred highland cows we have . Their calves sell at the same price as our other calves and are usually at the higher end of weaning weights.
It always makes me wonder why highland isn’t used more in more of the northern climates.
No one gives it a second thought to add ear to the cows in the south to help with the environment but it is taboo to do the same thing in the north . Why?
Highland is being used in a small way in the north, through the luing breed.
 

Son of Butch

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I've had a small herd of 5 red angus for 4 years now so still quite new to this. I process and sell 1-2 a year to friends/family and sell/sale barn the rest. I'd like to add some heterosis to my calves and have the option to buy a reasonably priced Charolais-highland. I kinda like that the highland genetics "might" add a little forage efficiency. Is this still worth thinking about or should I stick with RA bulls?
With just 5 cows, use the most cost-efficient breeding option available.

The heterosis of crossbreeding for feed efficiency would be most beneficial for replacement females and you'd get about 0 benefit from the calves sold.
I would have zero interest in adding any Highland blood for replacement females and I'm in Minnesota, so in southern Oklahoma it makes even less sense to me.
Stick with RA or a cheaper more conventional local option rather than Highland.
just my 2 cents
 
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puzzled in oregon

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my take is a little different. first, do you have the facilities to keep a bull? 5 head isn't really where I would be looking to invest in one full time. wait until you have 20-25 cows.

next, while a charxhighlander is a heck of a nice animal to sell, the potential for some goofy behavior would be a major concern to me.

finally, is the whole issue of crossbred bulls...with that cross on straight red angus you may do ok no matter what he throws, but again...I worry more about adding potential crazy to a herd.
My very first cow was a Highlander. I rode a 'goofy' colt all summer for someone so I could buy her, but my Highlander
wasn't goofy. Must be the charolais infusion. :)
 

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