Additive and non-additive effects for mature weight in beef cattle
Selection has emphasized animal growth, leading to an increase in their mature size affecting in some cases the pregnancy of the cows and the efficiency of the systems. Usually, crossbreeding improve productivity because of the genetic effects that the cows exploit, but the impact on mature weight (MW) has not been studied. The present study aimed at estimating MW and genetic parameters associated with the MW in crosses between two British breeds: Hereford (H/H) and Angus (A/A), a Continental: Salers (S/S), and a Zebu: Nelore (N/N). MW was analyzed at 4; 4.5; 5; 5.5 and 6 years of age using a repeated-measure sire model. For parameters estimation, an additive – dominant model was used including the fixed effects of breed group, contemporary group, and age as covariate linear and quadratic, with the linear regression fitted by breed group. Permanent environmental and sire were included as random effects. According to the results, it is expected to observe heterosis between H/H and N/N, however, the structure of the data may not be enough for estimate accurately the genetic parameters in this trait. The A/H, N/H, S/H, S/SH and H/NH cows were heavier than the H/H cows. All the breed groups continue gaining weight until six years of age. The results revealed that British crossbred animals are heavier than H/H at the first crossing but not in the following. Crossbred cows with proportions of 0.5 and greater for the Continental breed are heavier than H/H cows. Crosses between British and Zebu cows have higher mature weight than H/H at the first crossing and in backcrosses toward the British in all ages.
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