Evaluation of tropically adapted straightbred and crossbred cattle: postweaning gain and feed efficiency when finished in a temperate climate.
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Beef cows in the subtropical USA must be adapted to the stressors of the environment, typically supplied by using Brahman (Br) breeding. Calves produced in the region, however, are usually grown and finished in more temperate regions, and have a perceived reputation for poor ADG and feed efficiency during finishing. Compromised fertility and carcass quality often associated with the Br have increased interest in tropically adapted Bos taurus breed types. The objective of this study was to evaluate 3 breeds [An = Angus (Bos taurus, temperate); Br (B. indicus, tropical); and Ro = Romosinuano (B. taurus, tropical)] and all possible crosses during various segments of post-weaning growth, and for feed efficiency during the finishing phase. Steer calves (n = 473) born over 3 yr were weaned in late September, backgrounded for at least 21 d (BKG), shipped 2,025 km to El Reno, OK, in October, fed a preconditioning diet for 28 d (RCV), grazed wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) pasture from November to May (WHT), finished on a conventional feedlot diet (FIN), and serially harvested after approximately 95, 125, and 150 d on feed. Body weight and ADG during each segment were tested using a mixed model that included calf age at weaning, year (Y), breed of sire (SB), breed of dam (DB), and interactions. In addition, winter treatment (continuous wheat or reduced grazing of wheat with supplement) was included for the wheat and feedlot phases. Sire within SB SB [and pen (barn year) for feedlot phase] were considered random. The SB DB interaction was significant for all traits (P < 0.01) except exit velocity taken at weaning and ADG during FIN, but both traits were affected by 3-way interactions with Y or harvest group. Tropically-adapted purebred steers had greater (P < 0.01) ADG than AnAn through weaning and BKG in FL but the reverse was true during the RCV and WHT segments. Similar, but less pronounced results were noted for F(1) steers with 100% tropical influence compared with those with only 50%. Heterosis was numerically greater for most traits for An Br (11 to 64%) compared with An Ro and Br Ro (3 to 42%), which were similar. In a subset of the steers (n = 261), G:F was not influenced by level of tropical breeding, but tropically adapted steers were more efficient (P < 0.05) by residual feed intake. No heterosis was evident. These data show that in temperate zones, winter is the period when productivity of tropically adapted cattle is compromised.
author list (cited authors)
Coleman, S. W., Chase, C. C., Phillips, W. A., Riley, D. G., & Olson, T. A.