Crossbreds weight advantage
CROSSBRED suckler cows can give extra output in terms of weight of weaned calf compared with purebreds and this benefit can outweigh the premiums available for purebred stock.
MLC beef scientist Duncan Pullar believes it is difficult to select purebred cows with maternal traits and a bull for terminal traits within a single breed. "But separating the two issues means you can produce good crossbreds and choose the best terminal sires for cows you do not want to breed from.
He says a Limousin x Friesian cow has hybrid vigour which is worth an extra 23% in weight of weaned calf a cow served, compared with the average of the two purebreds. "Breeding sucklers pure will limit output.
"Producers wishing to breed their own replacements can do so without keeping purebred stock," adds Dr Pullar.
It is possible to breed replacements using a rotational breeding pattern with different beef breeds or produce composites and almost keep a closed herd.
"This is easier in larger herds, as when you only keep one bull it is difficult to breed both replacements and finishing calves." *