Evaluation of 2 sources of Angus cattle under South Florida subtropical conditions.
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The objective of this study was to compare performance and aspects of adaptability attributes of cattle from a Florida Angus bloodline (local source from a mostly closed herd for over 50 yr) to cattle that are representative of modern Angus bloodlines (outside source) in US subtropical conditions. Embryos from both sources were transferred to Brahman-crossbred cows in South Florida, and calves (n=82) were born in 3 yr. Before weaning, summer tympanic temperatures were recorded hourly for 3 d in each year. Heifers were placed with fertile bulls until diagnosed pregnant. Traits relative to sexual maturation of bulls were recorded at 1- or 2-mo intervals until approximately 17 mo of age. Calves from outside sources had greater hip height at weaning than calves from the local source (P<0.001; 108.8 0.62 and 104.7 0.68 cm, respectively). Local-source calves (n=37) had greater (P=0.03) exit velocity (2.7 0.3 m/s) than outside-source (n=45) calves (2.0 0.29 m/s), which may be indicative of more nervous or temperamental disposition. However, no source differences were detected for other assessments of disposition (chute or pen score, P>0.8). Few source differences for minimum, maximum, or range of daily tympanic (inner ear) temperatures were detected. At 17 mo of age, outside-source heifers were heavier (P = 0.05) and had greater (P<0.001) hip height than Angus heifers from the local source. Heifers from the outside source were younger (P<0.001) at the time of their first conception (454 17.5 d) than heifers from the local source (550 16.9 d). Outside-source heifers also had greater (P<0.02) pregnancy and calving rates (0.7 0.119 and 0.62 0.125, respectively) from exposure to bulls within a year from weaning than the heifers from the local source (0.29 0.089 and 0.19 0.077, respectively). Bulls from the outside source were heavier (P=0.05) at 320 d of age than local-source bulls. From 14 through 17 mo of age, outside-source bulls had greater (P0.05) scrotal circumference and tended (P0.15) to be heavier than local-source bulls. There appeared to be no performance or adaptation advantages for the local-source Angus through 17 mo of age. The large source difference for age at first conception in heifers merits additional attention and comparison with cow lifetime production performance for the 2 sources.