The beef production of Belgian Blue and Limousin (x Jersey) crossbred heifers and steers was compared to that of Jersey steers. Fifty, second parity and older Jersey cows weighing at least 350 kg were inseminated with Belgian Blue or Limousin semen. Calving ease was scored for every cow giving birth to a crossbred calf. Crossbred heifers and steers were reared according to standard procedures for a pasture-based system. Crossbred animals and Jersey steers were slaughtered at 24 months of age. Belgian Blue x Jersey-, and Limousin x Jersey calves were heavier (P < 0.01) at birth than Jersey calves, i.e. 32 and 31 vs. 24 kg respectively. Most (75%) Jersey cows gave birth to crossbred calves without any assistance. The remaining number of cows also received very little assistance. The average daily gain of Jerseys was lower (P < 0.05) than that of crosbred heifers and steers resulting in lower pre-slaughter live-weights at 24 months of age. Belgian Blue x Jersey and Limousin x Jersey heifers and steers weighed 355 and 328 kg respectively in comparison to 287 kg for Jersey steers. The dressing percentage of Jerseys was also lower (P < 0.001) than that of crosbreds. Results from this study confirmed the superiority of specialized beef breeds in comparison to Jersey steers. The crossbred heifers and steers should, however, be raised on a higher quality diet to capitalize on their growth potential.
Preliminary results on the beef production of Belgian-Blue x Jersey-, Limousin x Jersey- and Jersey cattle in a pasture based sy
Author: C.J.C. Muller, R. Meeske, G.D. van der Merwe and J.A. Botha
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