One of the beauties of the beef cattle industry is the diversity among production systems. Each differs slightly in regards to environment, breeding objective and targeted market. Still, one of the most tried-and-true principles to maximize production traits while simultaneously reducing costs in commercial beef systems is crossbreeding.  

There are two primary benefits to crossbreeding: heterosis and breed complementarity. Understanding these advantages and how they can be applied to individual systems is key. Heterosis is the advantage in performance that crossbred individuals have over the average of their purebred parents. Whether the crossbred animal is composed of two, three or more breeds, that little boost is often noticed in economically relevant traits, which in turn contributes to the overall bottom line.

Crossbreeding also allows the producer to take advantage of the strengths of multiple breeds to have offspring with superior performance in a variety of traits through breed complementarity. Crossing breeds with different strengths is designed to optimize performance for a given environment and breeding objective.

Dr. Bob Weaber, K-State Research and Extension Cow-Calf Specialist, will discuss the economic and efficiency opportunities available to commercial cattlemen through crossbreeding systems during “Utilizing Multiple Breeds in Beef Production Systems” on Feb. 28 inside the Dole-Specter Conference Center in Russell, Kan. Pre-registration is appreciated by Feb. 21 to (785) 483-3157, (785) 472-4442 or kschweer@ksu.edu. Cost for the event is $10, which includes dinner and educational materials.

This educational opportunity is possible through K-State Research and Extension with the support of Monty Morrill, ABS Independent Representative.