Crossbreeding and Heterosis

It has been said that crossbreeding and heterosis provide the only "free lunch" in the cattle industry and we believe that to be true.  Crossbreeding offers a wealth of value for virtually every cattleman in the country who plans a crossbreeding system that helps him take the best possible advantage of his available resources.  It is important to understand that the value in crossbreeding lies in both heterosis and in breed complementarity and in how those features can be used to fit into your own environment. 

Because they provide a balance of positive traits for beef cattle production, Salers genetics are an ideal fit for a variety of crossbreeding systems.  Their calving ease, maternal strength, reproductive efficiency and positive carcass traits are welcome components to just about any crossbreeding system and make Salers an ideal cross on many of today's Angus and Red Angus based cowherds.  We have designed our Salers and Optimizer composite genetics to work into a variety of crossbreeding systems.  We would be glad to help you take a look at your own breeding program and help you harness the value of heterosis and breed complementarity in your cowherd. 

The National Beef Cattle Evaluation Consortium (NBCEC) has put together a very comprehensive manual on beef cattle breeding including crossbreeding systems, heterosis and breed complementarity.  The following two articles by Bob Weaber of the University of Missouri include an in-depth scientific description of crossbreeding systems and how to select breeds and composites for your own crossbreeding system.  Its not light reading, but it does provide plenty of information on the science of crossbreeding.

Click to see pdf of article
Click to see pdf of article

Click to see pdf of article
Click to see pdf of article

About the Author...
Bob Weaber
Assitant Professor
University of Missouri

Bob Weaber joined the faculty of the Division of Animal Sciences at the University of Missouri in 2004. He holds the rank of Assistant Professor and serves as the State Extension Specialist- Beef Genetics. Bob is responsible for educational programming in the area of beef cattle genetics. He completed his doctoral studies in the Animal Breeding and Genetics Group at Cornell University. While a graduate student at Cornell University, he served as the Interim Director of Performance Programs for the American Simmental Association for three and one-half years. Prior to joining the research team at Cornell, Bob was Director of Education and Research at the American Gelbvieh Association for five years. He earned a master’s degree in the Beef Industry Leadership Program at Colorado State University. He is also the recipient of a B.S. degree from Colorado State in animal science with a minor in agricultural economics. Bob grew up on his family’s cow-calf operation in southern Colorado. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Beef Improvement Federation and is a co-coordinator of the NBCEC’s education programs.
Click to view entire Beef Selection Manual