Diverse breed resources provide cow/calf producers an opportunity to utilize breed combinations to enhance productivity for specific markets within defined production environments. Previous research documents the role of Bos indicus breeds of cattle for use in the cowherd in hot-humid production environments (Olson et al., 1991 ; Brown et al., 2001). Green et al. (1991) reported more weight of calf weaned from F1 Bos indicus cows per unit of feed consumed by the cows from calving until weaning. Phillips et al. (2001) reported calves whose dams were 50 % Bos indicus exhibited greater weight gains on native prairie pastures during the stocking period than straightbred calves. These positive contributions to beef production from Bos indicus breeds are offset by older ages at puberty (Gregory et al., 1979) and reduced meat tenderness with increasing percentage of Bos indicus breeding (Crouse et al., 1989). Reproductive (Cundiff et. al., 2000) and meat palatability potentials (Wheeler et al., 2001) of tropically adapted Bos taurus breeds of cattle may provide alternative breed resources for southern beef producers. Ferrell and Jenkins (1998) reported significant variation in energy utilization during the postweaning period for steers representing tropically and non-tropically adapted breeds of cattle. These results document the need to characterize production characteristics of mature cows representing these diverse breeds of cattle. The objective is to compare production characteristics of tropically adapted Bos taurus (TBT), Bos indicus (TBI)  and non-adapted Bos taurus (NBT) cows from calving through weaning to identify an alternative to Bos indicus for use as a maternal breed cross in tropical or subtropical production environments.

T. G Jenkins, C. L Ferrell

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 2002. Session 10, , 10.23, 2002
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