Oklahoma State University
(Key Words: Cattle, Charolais, Limousin, Crossbreeding, Terminal Sires.)
Experimental Design. Purebred Charolais and Limousin bulls were mated to eight two-breed cross cow groups (Hereford x Angus, Angus x Hereford, Simmental x Angus, Simmental x Hereford, Brown Swiss x Angus, Brown Swiss x Hereford, Jersey x Angus, Jersey x Hereford) to produce a total of 589 steer and 592 heifer calves in the spring of 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1981. Cows were 3 to 5 yr old in 1978, 4 to 6 yr old in 1979, 5 to 7 yr old in 1980 and 6 to 8 yr old in 1981 at the time of calving. A different set of eight Limousin sires was used each year for a total of 32 Limousin sires. Eight Charolais sires were used each year; however, some were used for two or three breeding seasons. Consequently, there were only 19 different Charolais sires (table 1). Limousin sires were selected by the North American Limousin Foundation and used through artificial insemination, with semen furnished by owners of the bulls, to produce 541 Limousin-cross calves. The Limousin bulls used were representative of the more popular bulls in the breed and each year a reference sire was included. Seventeen of the Charolais sires were purchased from Oklahoma breeders and selected on the basis of growth performance. The remaining two Charolais sires were from out-of-state and were also quite popular. Semen from these two bulls was used to produce 61 of the 640 Charolais-cross calves. Cows were randomly allotted to sires within crossbred type and age. The number of calves sired by a particular sire in a given year ranged from 8 to 24.
Management and Data Collection. With the exception of 35 calves produced in 1978 that were reared in drylot to weaning, calves were reared by their dams on native and bermudagrass pasture at the Lake Carl Blackwell Research Range west of Stillwater. Calves were born primarily during February and March. All calves were weighed within 24 h of birth and assigned a calving difficulty score on a scale from 1 (no difficulty) to 5 (Caesarean birth). Calving difficulty scores of 3, 4 and 5 were considered a difficult calving that required assistance from the herdsman. Calves were dehorned and castrated before 1 mo of age. At an average age of 205 d, calves were weaned, weighed and assigned a condition and a conformation score by a panel of at least three persons. Conformation score was primarily a visual appraisal of the degree of muscling.
After weaning, all calves were trucked to the Southwestern Livestock and Forage Research Station, El Reno, Oklahoma, and placed in the feedlot the following day. Steers and heifers were placed in separate feeding barns, each consisting of 14 11.0 X 14.3 m concrete-floor pens with 6.4 m of each pen covered with an open-sided pole barn that faced south. All calves of a specific three-breed cross of the same sex were fed together in a pen assigned at random. Cattle were fed ad libitum the finishing diet presented in table 2. Feed was weighed as it was dispensed in the feeders and, after all animals had been removed from the feeding study, residual feed was reweighed. All calves received implants (Synovex-H for heifers and Synovex-S for steers) when they entered the feedlot. A random half of the calves in each pen was reimplanted after approximately 120 d in 1979 and 1980. All calves were reimplanted in 1981. Cattle were weighed approximately every 30 d until the first animals were removed for slaughter. Adjusted yearling weights were calculated using weights obtained with cattle averaged 1 yr of age. At this time the cattle were also scored for body conformation. Cattle were weighed at 2-wk intervals during the slaughter phase. Each animal was sent to slaughter when an estimated carcass grade of low Choice was attained. A shrunk weight was obtained before shipment.
Cattle were transported to a commercial slaughter plant and slaughtered on the day of arrival, or the following day. Carcass data were obtained after a minimum of a 48-h chill. Carcasses were evaluated for quality grade, conformation, maturity, marbling, color and percentage kidney, heart and pelvic fat (KHP fat) by Oklahoma State University meat science faculty. Longissimus muscle area and external fat thickness were measured at the 12th rib. Dressing percentage was calculated by adjusting cold carcass weight to warm carcass weight and dividing by live shrunk weight at slaughter. Cutability was estimated by the USDA cutability equation (USDA, 1981).
Statistical Analysis. All traits except feed efficiency were analyzed by least-squares, mixed model procedures (Harvey, 1977, 1982). The model for all traits analyzed by mixed model procedures included the fixed effects of sire breed, crossbred dam group, dam age, calf sex and all two-factor interactions. Based on preliminary analyses, three-factor interactions were assumed nonsignificant. Birth date was included as a covariate in the analysis of all traits, and marbling score was included as an additional covariate in the analyses of all carcass traits except marbling score. Random effects included in the model were years nested within sire breed and sires nested within year and sire breed. It would have been more descriptive of the design to consider sire breed and years as cross-classified effects with sires nested in their interaction. However, programming limitations prevented nesting within an interaction. Nonetheless, the model is appropriate because years within sire breed adjusts for year main effects and sire breed x year interaction effects (Smith et al., 1976b). Preliminary analyses with a model in which years were treated as a fixed effect and sire effects omitted indicated that two-way interactions between year and other fixed effects were not important. Significant sources of variation were determined from the analysis of each trait using full mixed models. The mean square for sires within year and sire breed was used to test sire breed and years nested within sire breed. The residual mean square was used to test all other effects. Least-squares means were calculated from reduced models in which nonsignificant sources of variation were eliminated.
Feed efficiency was measured on a pen basis and was analyzed by a fixed effects model that included the effects of sire breed, crossbred dam group, calf sex and all two-way interactions. The three-way interaction was assumed to be nonsignificant. The residual mean square was used to test the statistical significance of all effects. Least-squares means were calculated from a reduced model in which nonsignificant effects were omitted.
Due to their 2.7 kg heavier birth weight and 31 g/d more rapid preweaning rate of gain, Charolais-sired calves were 9.0 kg heavier (P<.0l) at weaning. Charolais-sired calves received higher condition scores (5.2 vs 5.0, P<.0l) at weaning than did Limousin-sired calves. Weaning conformation scores were the same and quite acceptable for calves from both sire breeds.
Feedlot Traits. Breed of sire least-squares means for feedlot traits are presented in table 4. Initial feedlot weight of Charolais-cross calves was 9 kg heavier than that of Limousin-cross calves. The superior preweaning rate of gain exhibited by Charolais-cross calves persisted after weaning and resulted in a 19.2-kg advantage in yearling weight over Limousin-cross calves. Charolais crosses also had a slight advantage in muscle development as indicated by a higher conformation score. There was a sire breed X sex of calf interaction (P<.0l) for yearling weight. The difference in yearling weight between steer and heifer calves was 46.8 kg for Limousin sires compared with 41.3 kg for Charolais sires (table 5).
For the total feedlot period, Charolais-sired calves outgained Limousin-sired calves by 60 g/d and were in the feedlot on the average 6.8 fewer days. However, there was a sire breed X crossbred dam group interaction (P<.10) for days in the feedlot. The sire breed X crossbred cow group means (table 6) indicate that this interaction resulted from a combination of reversal in ranking between sire breeds when mated to Simmental X Hereford and Brown Swiss X Hereford cows (Charolais-cross calves averaged 3 d longer in the feedlot) and an increased magnitude of difference between Limousin- and Charolais-cross calves from Jersey cross cows (Limousin-cross calves averaged 18 d longer in the feedlot).
On the average, feed efficiency was similar for calves sired by both sire breeds (7.88 vs 7.83 kg feed/kg gain for Charolais and Limousin, respectively); however, there was a sire breed X year interaction (P<.0l). Feed efficiency was similar for the two sire breeds in 1979 and 1980. However, Limousin-sired calves were more efficient in 1978 (7.76 ± .10 vs 7.35 ± .10 kg/kg for Charolais and Limousin), whereas Charolais-sired calves were more efficient in 1981 (7.84 ± .10 vs 8.09 ± .10 kg/kg for Charolais and Limousin). The reversal in sire breed rank between 1978 and 1981 may have occurred because a different sample of sires from the two breeds was used each year.
Although Charolais-cross calves were in the feedlot fewer days, their advantage in growth rate was sufficient to result in 17.3 kg heavier slaughter weight on a grade-constant basis.
Carcass Traits. Least-squares means by sire breed for carcass traits are presented in table 7. With the exception of marbling score, least-squares means for carcass traits were adjusted to the average marbling score of 4.91 by linear regression. This is slightly below the equivalent of a marbling score of small, the minimal requirement for the USDA low Choice carcass quality grade. The adjustment to the average marbling score was minor because the actual average marbling scores were very similar for the two sire breeds (4.93 vs 4.89 for Charolais and Limousin).
Charolais-sired cattle had a .7% lower dressing percentage than did Limousin-sired cattle, but because they were heavier at slaughter, they yielded carcasses that were 7 kg heavier. Charolais crosses produced 22 g more carcass weight per day of age than did Limousin crosses, reflecting the superior growth rate of Charolais-cross calves. Charolais crosses had slightly less internal fat (2.99 vs 3.11% KHP fat) and external fat at the 12th rib (1.57 vs 1.67 cm) than did Limousin crosses at a constant amount of marbling. Carcass grade was not significantly different between Charolais and Limousin-sired calves at a constant amount of marbling, as would be expected, because carcass quality grade is determined primarily by marbling. In fact, the average actual carcass grades were very similar because the cattle were slaughtered at an anticipated carcass grade of low Choice. Longissimus muscle area and curability were not significantly different between sire breeds; however, there was a sire breed X sex of calf interaction (P<.0l). The difference in longissimus muscle area between steers and heifers was zero for Charolais sires and 3.1 cm 2 for Limousin sires (table 5). Heifers had a higher curability than steers for both sire breeds; however, the advantage was larger for Charolais-sired calves (.7 vs .3%; table 5).
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|TABLE 1. NUMBER OF SIRES BY YEAR|
|Number of sires
|Charolais||8||8 (3)||8 (4)||8 (6)||19|
|Limousin||8||8 (0)||8 (0)||8 (0)||32|
|TABLE 2. FINISHING DIET|
|Corn (IFN 4-02-931)||78|
|Alfalfa (IFN 1-00-063)||8|
|Cottonseed hulls (IFN 1-01-599)||4|
|Molasses (IFN 4-00-668)||5|
|TABLE 3. LEAST-SQUARES MEANS AND STANDARD ERRORS FOR BIRTH AND WEANING TRAITS|
|Trait||Charolais (C)||Limousin (L)||(C-L)|
|Birth wt, kg||38.5 ± .4||35.8 ± .4||2.7**|
|Difficult calvings, %||13.8 ± 1.5||3.9 ± 1.5||9.9**|
||1.42 ± .05||1.13 ± .05||.29**|
|Preweaning mortality, %||9.3 ± 1.3||4.7 ± 1.4||4.6*|
|Preweaning avg daily gain, g/d||940 ± 13||909 ± 11||31**|
|Weaning wt, kg||231.2 ± 1.3||222.2 ±||9.0**|
||13.6 ± .04||13.6 ± .04||0|
||5.2 ± .02||5.0 ± .02||.2**|
|a Calving difficulty: 1 = no difficulty, 2 = little difficulty, 3 = moderate difficulty, 4 = major difficulty and 5 = caesarian.
b Conformation score: 13 = average Choice and 14 = high Choice.
c Condition score: nine point scale with 1 = very thin, 5 = average and 9 = very fat.
|TABLE 4. LEAST-SQUARES MEANS AND STANDARD ERRORS FOR FEEDLOT TRAITS|
|Trait||Charolais (C)||Limousin (L)||(C-L)|
|Initial feedlot wt, kg||231.2 ± 1.2||222.2 ± 1.2||9.0**|
|Yearling wt, kg||428.0 ± 2.6||208.8 ± 2.6||19.2 **|
||13.5 ± .03||13.2 ± .03||.3**|
|Days on feed||260.0 ± .98||266.8 ± 1||-6.8*|
|Feedlot avg daily gain, g/d||1119 ± 11||1059 ± 11||60**|
|Feed efficiency, kg feed/kg gain||7.88 ± .05||7.83 ± .05||.05|
|Slaughter wt, kg||520.0 ± 2.3||502.7 ± 2.4||17.3**|
|a Conformation scores: 13 = average Choice and 14 = high choice.
|TABLE 5. LEAST-SQUARES MEANS AND STANDARD ERRORS BY SUBCLASS MEANS
FOR TRAITS THAT HAD A SIGNIFICANT SIRE BREED X
SEX OF CALF INTERACTION
|Sire breed||Sex of calf||Yearling
|Charolais||Steer||449.5 ± 9.4||84.5 ± 1.29||50.0 ± .3|
|Heifer||408.2 ± 9.4||84.5 ± 1.29||50.7 ±.3|
|Limousin||Steer||432.3 ± 9.5||86.3 ± 1.29||50.0 ± .3|
|Heifer||385.5 ± 9.4||83.2 ± 1.29||50.3 ± .3|
|TABLE 6. LEAST-SQUARES MEANS AND STANDARD ERRORS BY SIRE BREED AND CROSSBRED COW GROUP FOR DAYS ON FEED|
|Hereford X Angus||268 ± 12.2||274 ± 12.4|
|Angus X Hereford||252 ± 12.5||262 ± 12.8|
|Simmental X Angus||270 ± 11.3||273 ± 11.1|
|Simmental X Hereford||279 ± 12.6||275 ± 13.2|
|Brown Swiss X Angus||263 ± 11.9||268 ± 12.4|
|Brown Swiss X Hereford||265 ± 12.3||263 ± 12.9|
|Jersey X Angus||242 ± 11.2||259 ± 10.7|
|Jersey X Hereford||242 ± 11.2||261 ± 10.4|
|TABLE 7. LEAST-SQUARES MEANS AND STANDARD ERRORS FOR CARCASS TRAITS|
|Trait||Charolais (C)||Limousin (L)||(C-L)|
|Carcass wt, kg||332.1 ± 1.7||325.1 ± 1.8||7.0*|
|Carcass wt/day of age, g||714 ± 5||692 ± 5||22**|
|Dressing percentage||63.9 ± .13||64.6 ± .14||-.7**|
|Single fat thickness, cm||1.11 ± .03||1.24 ± .03||-.13**|
|Avg fat thickness, cm||1.57 ± .03||1.67 ± .04||-.10*|
|Kidney, heart and pelvic
|2.99 ± .04||3.11 ± .04||.12*|
|M. longissimus area, cm²||84.7 ± .75||84.8 ± .79||-.04|
|Cutability, %||50.37 ± .10||50.15 ± .10||.22|
||4.93 ± .06||4.89 ± .06||.04|
||9.78 ± .002||9.76 ± .002||.02|
|a Marbling score: 4 = slight and 5 = small.
b Carcass grade: 9 = high Good and 10 = low Choice.
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