Genetic effects for reproductive traits in beef cattle and predicted performance.

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Reproductive data were collected on 4,595 cow exposures and subsequent calvings over four generations in a rotational crossbreeding study involving Angus, Brahman, Charolais and Hereford breeds. Direct and maternal additive (Ig and Mg) and nonadditive (Ih and Mh) genetic effects were estimated for calving rate, calf survival, weaning rate, calving assistance and calf birth date. Genetic effects were estimated by regressing individual animal response on the proportion of genes from breed of origin and gene combinations expected for the four breeds in offspring and in dams. Breed direct and maternal additive and nonadditive genetic effects were expressed as a deviation from the least squares mean. Brahman Ig effects decreased calving and weaning rate (-9.5 +/- 4.0 and -11.8 +/- 4.4%) but Mh effects for weaning rate that included Brahman were positive, ranging from 16.5 +/- 6.7% for Angus-Brahman to 27.8 +/- 6.9% for Brahman-Hereford. The Brahman Ig effect delayed calf birth date (9.8 +/- 2.1 d; P less than .01), whereas Angus and Hereford Ig effects influenced earlier calf birth dates (-4.3 +/- 1.9 and -4.1 +/- 1.9 d; P less than .05). Brahman combination Mh effects also influenced earlier calf birth dates (P less than .01). The Charolais Ig effect for calving assistance was positive (4.3 +/- 1.9%; P less than .05), whereas Angus-Brahman and Brahman-Charolais Mh effects for calving assistance were negative (-6.5 +/- 3.2 and -7.0 +/- 3.2%; P less than .05) and more desirable. Predicted reproductive traits for rotational mating systems were intermediate between predicted reproductive traits for two- and three-breed terminal crosses. Predicted calving and weaning rates were maximized when Brahaman first-cross and Charolais-Hereford cows were used in three-breed cross mating systems.

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Journal of animal science

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