Strategic Crossbreeding Yields Opportunity to Improve Genetics Utilizing Multiple Breeds

Listen to Ron Hays talk with Bob Weaber about intentional crossbreeding.

On this episode of Beef Buzz, Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster Ron Hays is back talking with Bob Weaber of Kansas State University about strategic crossbreeding in beef cattle operations. Whether a producer’s herd is large or small, Weaber emphasized there is a great opportunity to improve genetics by utilizing multiple breeds.

To listen to part one of the conversation with Bob Weaber talking about heterosis, click here!

“In some cases, the sophistication comes in the planning and physical organization of the ranch,” Weaber said.

As every ranch is different in terms of size, build, and number of head, Weaber said strategic crossbreeding is all about thinking through managing breeding pastures effectively. Through focused coordination, Weaber said an operation can zero in on desired traits.

“Our system is under enough stress and pressure to make really big, fed cattle and large beef carcasses that we have made cows substantially bigger over time,” Weaber said. “If you go back to the 70s and the 80s, it wasn’t uncommon to have 1000 or 1100-pound cows. We are breeding heifers at 1000 or 1100 pounds and making 1400, 1500 or 1600-pound mature cows. That changes stocking rate and a lot of things from a sustainability and production capacity sense that many people are starting to rethink.”

When considering what factors to prioritize in a breeding program, Weaber also talked about how breeding for smaller cattle can yield numerous benefits, including greater stocking rates.

“You can run a lot smaller cows on an operation, and that contributes better to profit than many big cows do, often,” Weaber said.

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR for today’s show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.

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