AGRICULTURE

Maternal efficiency of Gelbvieh and Balancer females

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Farm Forum

Cow-calf producers want females in their breeding herds that combine efficiency with productivity, balancing weaning weight of calves with amount of feed put into the cow. Gelbvieh and Balancer females fill that spot for hard-working females that will last in your herd for years to come.

While cattlemen and women have known for years that Gelbvieh means consistent and reliable females, Gelbvieh maternal efficiency is more than just word of mouth. Studies support Gelbvieh performance in maternal traits compared to other breeds. But how do these traits benefit commercial producers? There are several maternal traits that Gelbvieh excels at that help you watch your operation’s bottom line.

Gelbvieh replacement heifers are younger at puberty

According to the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (MARC) Cycle VII report, Gelbvieh females reach puberty at the youngest age and at the lightest body weight of any major beef breed. Studies have shown that heifers that reach puberty earlier in life can potentially conceive earlier in the breeding season, giving them more time to recover after calving and therefore contributing to on-time calving later in life. This means that reproductively efficient heifers can contribute to concise calving seasons.

Heavier weaning weights with moderate birth weight

Calves with Gelbvieh and Balancer sires have also shown to have greater weaning weights compared to calves sired by other breeds, while still maintaining a moderate birth weight (Charts 1 and 2). No mystery here; heavier calves at weaning mean more money in the pocket for commercial cow-calf producers that sell at that time.

“One of the only, yet very effective ways, to improve biological efficiency of beef cattle production systems is through the use of planned crossbreeding systems to leverage heterosis, especially maternal heterosis, and breed complementarity. Crossbreeding has been shown to be an efficient method to improve reproductive efficiency and productivity in beef cattle,” comments Dr. Bob Weaber.

“One must remember that hybrid vigor is the percent increased performance between the average of the two parent breeds. This means that high quality genetic inputs are necessary to gain performance through heterosis – garbage in, garbage out,” said Dr. Bob Hough. “With the proper genetic inputs, lifetime pounds weaned per cow exposed can be increased by as much as 25 percent.”