Top 10 Factors Confusing Producers About Crossbreeding

Top 10 reasons why there's still confusion among U.S. producers regarding the benefits of crossbreeding cattle

Dave Daley, California State University - Chico professor of animal science has his top 10 reasons why there's still confusion among U.S. producers regarding the benefits of crossbreeding cattle.

Daley, a fifth generation cattle producer from Butte County, CA, runs, along with his wife Cindy and three children, a commercial cow-calf, stocker and purebred Angus program. During his presentation, "Heterosis -- Ignored Or Forgotten?" he told amost 500 attendees of this week's Beef Improvement Federation annual meeting in Choctaw, MS, poor results "are not the fault of crossbreeding, but the crossbreeder." Here's his top 10: There's a cultural bias that clearly reflects the philosophy that "purebreds are better."

The industry's predilection for single-trait selection focusing on "bigger is better."

The industry decided measuring outputs is more meaningful than measuring inputs -- and easier. This includes average daily gain, ribeye area, quality grade, feed efficiency, conception rate, weaning weight, etc.

Uniform phenotypes for qualitative traits (such as color) have a distinct and real marketing advantage that's difficult to prove.

Heterosis is difficult to visualize and even more difficult to measure -- longevity, morbidity, livability, age at puberty, lifetime productivity.

Presentation of complicated crossbreeding systems as "normal practice" to diverse cattle operations, especially the countless small beef herds in the U.S.

A penchant by-product and service suppliers to tell producers how to modify their environment in order to "get heavier calves, higher percent calf crop and more total pounds."

Historically, an active resistance to crossbreeding from some purebred producers and, in some cases, breed associations.

Inappropriate use of breed diversity.

Our industry and university systems have focused on individual trait measurement for more than 50 years. -- Joe Roybal

TAGS: Breeding