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What has made the Angus cow so popular is her ability to adapt to most environments, her calving ease, mothering ability, fertility, and longevity. Because some Angus breeders have added more growth, milk, and carcass traits to compete with other breeds and therefore may have lost several of those traits, even as Angus breeders we need to think in terms of maternal, balanced traits, and terminal genetics. Fortunately, within the Angus breed we can find all the traits we need. Angus cattle have become the largest breed and within it you can now find the genetics to make the ideal cow, the ideal market steer, and the ideal grass finished beef. (One bull cannot do it all.) The majority of Angus breeders strive for the ideal industry type, but not everyone has followed this path. There are Angus breeders breeding cattle similar to those found 30 years ago, those breeding for the ideal industry type, and those that breed for everything in between. We can use this to our advantage.

Cross-breeding did not work for most people for a couple reasons: ranchers did not have enough cattle to keep the rotation going, or they did not want to sort cattle up for breeding. They soon ended up with a mongrel herd that was inconsistent, more difficult to market, and with different colors and less predictability.

The composite or cross-bred (Hybrid) (Balancer) (Sim/Angus) bull marketed today has weaknesses. If it’s a simple cross-bred (½ Angus and ½ Continental) bull used on high % Angus or pure-bred Angus cows, most of the heterosis is lost, as the first cross has the most heterosis. The dominant genes will be Angus and you’ll have ¾ Angus. Simply put, F1 is a better female than the straight Angus or Hereford cow. But then there’s the question as to what do you breed her to? Leachman says the composite is like mixing paint. If you mixed red and white paint together you get pink. And no matter how you shake it up, it stays pink. To make the composite work you need a 4 breed crossbred bull and 4 breed crossbred cow. Maybe it works, I do not know. What I do know is there are lots of good marketers and promoters out there.