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Hybrid vigor, how much is more?

TL;DR:

  • The effect of cross-breeding Angus with Hereford was 2% higher BW, 3% higher WW, 12.6 kg larger carcass, and 2.1 cm2 larger loin-eye area.
  • There was a significant effect of cross-breeding, even after years of genetic improvement in purebred cattle.

What you need to know: When crossing two breeds, the sum becomes more than the parts. In other words, hybrid vigor is the idea that the cross-bred offspring are better than either of the purebred parents. But how much better are we talking?

When comparing offspring of Angus dams bred by either Hereford or Angus bulls, the performance of crossbred offspring, the hybrid vigor factor, was significantly better. Crossing an Angus and a Hereford increased birth weight (2%), weaning weight (3%), carcass weight (12.6 kg), and loin-eye area (2.1 square cm) when compared to their purebred Angus counterparts.

Industry Application: Even after years of genetic improvement in purebred cattle, cross-breeding continues to have a significant effect on industry-relevant traits. This data demonstrates that there is still value in cross-bred cattle being brought to market.

Read more about it: Genomic analysis of purebred and cross-bred Angus cattle demonstrates opportunity for multi-breed evaluation