The Hybrid advantage
The two main components of hybrid vigour are individual and maternal:
Individual- when two straight breeds are crossed the resulting calf will have an 8.5% advantage. Only the calf is gaining heterosis
Maternal- is gained from increased production of crossbred females, through increased fertility, milk production and longevity of breeding life. This makes up the remaining 23.3% life time production gain
Paternal- Hybrid bulls are more fertile
There are many different cross breeding programs, but unfortunately they are complicated and may result in wide swings in breed composition. As an alternative, research at the Meat Animal Research Centre (MARC) developed a multi breed composite that allows cattle breeders to access the benefits of hybrid vigour whilst maintaining a constant breed type.
Composites provide commercial cattle producers with the advantages of a crossbred system, with the simplicity of a pure bred system. Producers who opt to use composite bulls in their herds do not need to make any changes to their management system, and get the benefits of hybrid vigour.
Producers of any size now have the opportunity to utilise hybrid vigour and different traits from a variety of breeds in one simple package, without sacrificing consistency and marketability.