Making a Plan When it Comes to Crossbreeding with Kansas State’s Bob Weaber

Listen to Ron Hays talk with Bob Weaber about heterosis.

At the recent Cattlemen’s Conference in Stillwater, Oklahoma, Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster Ron Hays had the chance to talk with Bob Weaber of Kansas State University about being intentional with heterosis.

While crossbreeding has been around for quite a while, Weaber said heterosis capitalizes on having a breeding plan and what an operation wants to achieve with genetics. When structuring breeding systems to leverage heterosis and breed complementary, Weaber talked about how hybrid vigor becomes more prominent and intentional.

“Because of the really high input costs, producers are now interested again in proving reproductive efficiency and longevity of cows,” Weaber said.

For a few reasons such as high input costs or interest in sustainability, Weaber said the importance of managing efficiently through heterosis is becoming a priority in many operations.  Regardless of the size of an operation, Weaber said a producer can be successful in using crossbreeding in a convenient way.

“One of the things we always elevate is that different systems make sense for different sizes of operations,” Weaber said.

For example, Weaber said buying crossbred replacement females and using a terminal bull is one system that is particularly well adapted to small producers but can work for larger producers as well.

“Getting some thoughtfulness into what size of cow, what lactation potential, what breed composition makes the most environmentally adaptive cow is the objective when you are looking at maternal heterosis size,” Weaber said. “I encourage producers to think about what to mate those cows to.”

When looking to add value to the calves that will be produced on an operation, Weaber said choosing what bull to breed the cows to is critical. To listen to the full conversation about being intentional when it comes to crossbreeding, click the listen bar above the story!

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