Purebred vs Crossbred

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I have no experience with cattle whatsoever. In about a year I will move to recently purchased 50 acres in northwestern AL. The property has about 35 acres in good pasture with a good year-round creek and is currently being used by a neighbor for his cow-calf operation. (He has about 20 cows). Once I get to the property, my goal is to have my own cattle operation.

I've been reading Heather Smith Thomas' book: A Guide to Raising Beef Cattle, highly praised here. Starting on p. 13 she says:

"With hybrid vigor you get about 20 percent more pounds of calf weaned per cow using cross-bred cows than produced by a straight herd. ...For example, a Hereford-Angus cow produces 20 percent more pound of calf when bred to a bull of another breed (such as Charolais) than does a Hereford-to-Hereford or Angus-to-Angus mating."

"Even though one benefit of crossbreeding is increased growth in the offspring, the main benefit (of most value to the stockman, overtime) is increased production of the crossbred female, greater fertility (even under adverse conditions), better maternal traits such as milking ability and increased survival rate of the calves. Crossbred females are the best producers."

Now with a difference of 20% more pounds of weaned calf per cow plus the other benefits cited for crossbred females, it seems to me the only reason to have a purebred herd would be if you wanted to be the business of selling animals for their genetics, as opposed to selling them for their meat value. Is that correct? Are there any operations that raise purebreds to sell for meat? If so, why...when crossbred is apparently so much more productive/profitable?

Thanks, Bill

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Hey! Sounds like you are on the right track! Your new 50 acre place sounds good with the water and pasture there. At Running Arrow Farm we only do purebred breeding and raising of Texas Longhorns. As seedstock producers our goal is to produce even better offspring through chasing genetics, conformation, and other traits. Since we do not breed for "beef" production per se, we do not do any cross-breeding with our herd. From what I understand, the producers that are chasing quality beef production are actively involved in cross-breeding to attempt to produce the best weight gain, marbling, and all that "commercial" herd stuff. It would stand to reason that the breeds & cross-breeds that are common in your geographic area would be the ones most suited for your climate and program.

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people in purebred businesses produce purebred animals to sell as seedstock (bulls, cows, heifers) and in addition produce animals for meat (steers, culls).

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