Production characters of first-generation cows of a five-breed diallel: reproduction of young cows and preweaning performance of inter se calves.
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Data from cows of a five-breed diallel involving Angus, Brahman, Hereford, Holstein and Jersey were analyzed. Females were used in inter se matings to produce three second-generation parturitions per cow. Crossbred (CB) cows were 43 d younger (P less than .05), 14 kg heavier (P less than .05) and 2 cm taller (P less than .05) at first calving than straightbred (SB) cows; however, no differences were detected (P greater than .10) between the two groups for pelvic measurements. Although large differences among breed types existed for gestation length, crossbreds generally did not differ from straightbreds for this character. Crossbred cows exhibited a 7.5 d shorter (P less than .05) interval from parturition to first service, but did not exhibit a shorter interval from parturition to conception (P greater than .10). The dairy breeds (Holstein and Jersey) and their crosses exhibited similar postpartum and calving intervals as Angus, while Brahman and their crosses had longer intervals. Crossbred calves were 1.3 kg heavier (P less than .01) and had greater (P less than .01) shoulder and hip dimensions at birth than SB calves, but no difference in the amount of calving difficulty was detected (P greater than .10) between the two groups. Higher (P less than .01) rates of survival to 24 h (3.7%) and to weaning (8.7%) were observed for CB calves compared with SB calves. Heterotic effects for weaning weight (15.2 kg), weaning height (2 cm) and preweaning average daily gain (68 g) were large and illustrate the importance of individual and maternal heterosis for these characters. These results suggest that substantial amounts of heterosis may be retained for survival and weaning characters of calves in early generations of inter se mating of CB.
author list (cited authors)
McElhenney, W. H., Long, C. R., Baker, J. F., & Cartwright, T. C
complete list of authors
McElhenney, WH||Long, CR||Baker, JF||Cartwright, TC