Maternal Effects on Reproduction and Production Traits of Reciprocal F 1 Dams of Angus, Brahman, and Charolais Breeds

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Maternal Effects on Reproduction and Production Traits of Reciprocal F 1 Dams of Angus, Brahman, and Charolais Breeds
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Peacock, F.M.
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BUL838 Maternal Effects on Reproduction and Production Traits of Reciprocal F 1 Dams of Angus, Brahman, and Charolais Breeds 1 F. M. Peacock and M. Koger2 1. This document is BUL838, one of a series of the Animal Science Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date December 1984. Reviewed June 2003. Visit the EDIS Web Site at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu. 2. Peacock, F. M. ; Koger, M., Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611. The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Employment Opportunity Affirmative Action Employer authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For information on obtaining other extension publications, contact your county Cooperative Extension Service office. Florida Cooperative Extension Service / Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences / University of Florida / Larry R. Arrington, Interim Dean Interest in increasing beef production from crossbreeding has focused attention on the F 1 female because of the high productivity associated with maternal heterosis. Comparisons among F 1 reciprocal crossbred cows are desirable in order to determine if differences in their producing abillty can be attributed to the breed of their dam. The purpose of this paper is to compare the performance of reciprocal F 1 crossbred females as to dam breed for both reproduction and production traits. The F 1 females represented all combinations of the Angus, Brahman, and Charolais breeds. These breeds represent three divergent breed types with respect to size and adaptation to the Florida environment (Peacock et al., 6). METHODS AND PROCEDURES The data reported here were obtained at the ARC, Ona, over a 7-year period from a project in which Angus (A), Brahman (B), and Charolais (C) bulls were each bred to F 1 (AB, BA*), F 1 (AC, CA*), and F 1 (BC, CB*) cows of Angus, Brahman, and Charolais breeds. Bulls were put out March 1 and removed from the herd June 1 each year. The nutritional plane of herds varied among years, but the average could be considered fair to good. Herds were grazed on bahiagrass and Pangola digitgrass year-round, with molasses supplement or a cottonseed meal-citrus pulp mixture (1:4 ratio) at 5 pounds per head daily for approximately 90 days during late winter and early spring. Weaning data on calves and data on pregnancy status of cows were collected the latter part of August each year. A total of 21 sires were used (7 of each breed) during the 7-year period. Heifers were first exposed to bulls at 2 years of age. Sire breed is written first in F 1 combinations. The data analyzed, utilizing least-squares procedures as outlined by Harvey (1), were the individual records for pregnancy, calf survival, calf age at weaning, weaning weight, estimated 205-day weight, and cow weight. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION The variance analyses for traits measured are presented in Table 1 Effects such as year, sex, dam age, and in this particular study sire breeds, were

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Maternal Effects on Reproduction and Production Traits of Reciprocal F 1 Dams of Angus,.... 2 included in the analysis to adjust for F 1 dams effects. Least-squares means and standard error for traits measured are presented in Table 2 Reproduction There were highly significant differences for the F 1 dam breeds (reciprocals combined) for pregnancy, with no differences observed for survival rate of calves. Pregnancy rates were 91.2% for AB + BA, 81.2% for AC + CA, and 89.4% for BC + CB F 1 dam breeds. Pregnancy rates for the Brahman cross dams were similar, and higher than those of the Angus-Charolais crosses. No significant differences in pregnancy or calf survival were observed among the reciprocals ( Table 1 ). The only reciprocals showing any degree of possible maternal superiority in the performance of their F 1 female progeny were the Charolais x Brahman (CB) at 92.0% over the Brahman x Charolais (BC) at 86.9% ( Table 2 ). The reciprocals, whether CB (Charolais bull x Brahman cow) or BC (Brahman bull x Charolais cow), should be the same genetically. The possibility exists that differences could be due to the maternal environment provided by the Brahman to their F 1 female progeny in utero or during the period from birth to weaning. Production Traits There were no differences observed for weaning age of calves among the F 1 dams (reciprocals combined). This indicates that all F 1 dams that conceived did so during the same time period ( Table 1 ). There were also no significant differences among the F 1 reciprocals for weaning age of their calves. Weaning weights and 205-day weights of calves from the three F 1 crossbred combinations (reciprocals combined) were significantly different ( Table 1 ). The weights for calves from F 1 AB + BA and F 1 BC + CB cows were similar and were higher (P 0.01) than calves produced by F 1 AC+ CA cows ( Table 2 ). Even though variations were real between breed combinations, there were no observed differences between F 1 breed reciprocals ( Table 2 ). There was, however, a tendency for F 1 dams produced from Brahman dams to wean heavier calves, but when adjusted for calf age, these small variations were minimized. Turner et al. (8) reported no differences in the weaning weight of calves between F 1 Angus x Brahman vs Brahman x Angus reciprocal dams in Louisiana, but they did suggest a tendency for F 1 dams from Brahman cows to be superior. Results from the Charolais-Angus combinations ( Table 2 ) showed that F 1 cows from Charolais dams (AC) appeared to have a slight advantage for 205-day calf weight (450 vs 438 lb [204 vs 199 kg]). These variations suggest the possibility that reciprocal differences are related to dam size, as the Charolais cows weighed 1076 lb (488 kg) vs 855 lb (388 kg) for the Angus ( Table 4 ). Montana research (Pahnish et al., 4) on the same breed combination did not find differences in 205-day weight of calves from F 1 reciprocal Charolais-Angus crossbred dams, even though the Charolais were 10% heavier than Angus dams. Research on maternal effects for weaning weight of reciprocal F 1 calves was conducted in Florida by Peacock et al. (6). With the Angus-Brahman combinations, F 1 calves produced by Brahman dams were 5.8% heavier (P < 0.05) at weaning than those from Angus dams, but when adjusted for age, the difference (3.5%) was not significant ( Table 3 ). The variation (P < 0.10) in weight of these reciprocals existed at 2 years of age (Peacock and Koger, 5). and also at maturity ( Table 4 ). The positive effect of the Brahman dam on preweaning response of calves was greater in the Charolais-Brahman crosses. Calves from Brahman dams weighed 8.5% more (P < 0.01) at weaning, and 4.4% more (P < 0.05) when calf weights were adjusted for age, than the reciprocals from Charolais dams. However, this advantage diminished to 3.5% (non-significant) at 2 years of age and was completely gone at maturity. These results do not support the theory that maternal effect is caused by difference in dam breed size, since Charolais dams weighed 13.7% more than Brahman dams ( Table 4 ). However, heterosis for growth of offspring was obtained when the Brahman and European cattle were crossed, and the hybrid vigor effects masked the maternal effects for growth.

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Maternal Effects on Reproduction and Production Traits of Reciprocal F 1 Dams of Angus,.... 3 Research has shown no heterosis for calf weaning weight in combined F 1 reciprocals from crossing the Charolais and Angus breeds (Peacock et al., 6). The Charolais and Angus are both European breeds, even though large differences existed in mature size. The Charolais cow was 25.8% heavier than the Angus, 1076 vs 855 lb (488 vs 388 kg). Reciprocal crossing resulted in Charolais cows producing 13% more calf than the Angus cow, 6.2% more when the calves reached 2 years of age. At maturity this F 1 Angus x Charolais cow weighed 5.0% more (P < 0.01) than its reciprocal from Angus cows. Even though real differences did not occur among offspring of these reciprocal Charolais-Angus cows, additivity for dam breed size was present in F 1 cows, diminishing in the succeeding generation until equilibrium was reached. Weights of reciprocal F 1 females out of Brahman cows at 2 years of age slightly favored the Brahman dam over Angus and Charolais dams (non-significant), with the influence of the Charolais dam over the Angus diminished in the F 1 but still at a 6.1 % advantage (P < 0.05) over the Angus (Peacock and Koger, 5). The concept of maternal effects on size and growth of beef cattle offspring was probably based on studies of growth behavior in the horse. Research in the United Kingdom (Walton and Hammond, 9) showed that crossbred foals from Shetland mares were smaller at birth and remained smaller at all subsequent stages of development than their reciprocal crosses from Shire mares. This was attributed to the fact that leg length from the knee and hock downwards increased very little after birth, and the size to which the reciprocal crosses grew was affected accordingly. However, beef cattle research (Joubert, 2) showed that the knee and hock heights increased by 55.9% and 56.0% respectively from birth to maturity, which indicates that differences in size at birth may not remain permanent but might be altered by compensatory growth. Further research on maternal influence by Joubert and Hammond (3) utilized two breeds of beef cattle of an extreme size difference, the South Devon and Dexter. The average adult South Devon female weighed 1568 lb (712 kg) and the Dexter 650 lb (295 kg), a difference of 241%. Birth weight of Dexter calves was 51.8 lb (23.5 kg), whereas for South Devon calves it was 100.3 lb (45.5 kg), a 96.3% difference. Reciprocal crossbred calves from South Devon cows weighed 12.5% more at birth than calves from Dexter cows. The difference increased to 28.6% at 7 months of age and was 16.5% at 12 months. Results from this study show that maternal effects due to dam size exist in the offspring and could continue into adult life. Actual cow weights may not be the true genetic size of the breeds used in this study. The variations in environmental conditions existing in the United States could be involved in producing important effects of genotype-environment interaction on actual weight. In Montana (Pahnish et al., 4), Charolais cows were only 10% heavier than Angus, whereas in Missouri (Sagebiel et al., 7) the difference was 23%, and at Ona, Florida (Peacock et al., 6), the difference was 26%. The results from this study and those from the United Kingdom on crossing breeds with large variations in genetic size show that maternal effects on size are transmitted to offspring when genetic effects are additive and performance of offspring is void of heterosis. However, when crossing genetically divergent breeds where a high degree of heterosis for growth is obtained, maternal effects on size could be masked. Even though maternal effects might occur in the first cross, these effects would diminish in the next generation (offspring from F 1 cross females), with little grand-dam maternal effects in the offspring. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS Data have been presented for reproduction and production performance of reciprocal F 1 crossbred cows representing the Angus, Brahman, and Charolais breeds. Results of this research showed no significant differences between F 1 reciprocal cows for traits measured. Therefore, under the environmental conditions of this study and with the breeds utilized, the production potential of the F 1 cross female was not significantly affected by dam breed. Under environmental conditions similar to this study, Brahman bulls can be mated to Angus cows or

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Maternal Effects on Reproduction and Production Traits of Reciprocal F 1 Dams of Angus,.... 4 Angus bulls can be mated to Brahman cows without materially affecting the performance of the resulting F 1 females. The same principle exists in the production of the other breed combinations represented in this study. However, under conditions where the dam breed is not adapted, and growth of offspring (F 1 female) is so severely retarded that its genetic potential for growth is not reached, its ultimate production could be affected. These conditions would warrant the selection of the dam breed that is most adapted to the environment to ensure that the potential of the F 1 female is reached. LITERATURE CITED 1. Harvey, W.R. 1975. Least squares analyses of data with unequal subclass numbers. USDA ARS. 11-4 2. Joubert, D. M. 1954. The influence of winter nutrition depression on growth, reproduction and production of cattle. J. Agr. Sci. 44:5. 3. Joubert, D. M., and John Hammond. 1958. A crossbreeding experiment with cattle with special reference to maternal effects on South Devon-Dexter crosses. J. Agri. Sci. 51:325. 4. Pahnish, O. F., J. S. Brinks, J. J. Urick, B. W. Knapp, and T. M. Riley. 1969. Results from crossing beef x beef and beef x dairy breeds: calf performance to weaning. J. Anim. Sci. 28:291. 5. Peacock, F. M., and M. Koger. 1982. Heterosis for weight in F 1 crosses of the Angus, Brahman and Charolais breeds as long yearlings (unpublished data). 6. Peacock, F. M., M. Koger, T. A. Olson, and J. R. Crockett. 1981. Additive genetic and heterosis effects in crosses among cattle breeds of British, European and Zebu origin. J. Anim. Sci. 52:1007. 7. Sagebiel, J. A., G. F. Krouse, Bob Sibbit, L. Langford, A. J. Dyer, and John F. Lasley. 1973. Effect of heterosis and maternal influence on gestation length and birth weight in reciprocal crosses among Angus, Charolais and Hereford cattle. J. Anim. Sci. 37:1273. 8. Turner, J. W. 1969. Preweaning production differences among reciprocal crossbred beef cows. J. Anim. Sci. 29:857. 9. Walton, A., and J. Hammond. 1938. The maternal effect on growth and conformation in Shire horse-Shetland pony crosses. Proc. Roy. Soc. (Biol.) 125:311.

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Maternal Effects on Reproduction and Production Traits of Reciprocal F 1 Dams of Angus,.... 5 Table 1. Table 1. Variance analyses for reproduction and production traits. Source of Variance d.f. Pregnancy Survival Calf weaning age Calf weaning weight 205-day weight Years 6 0.442** 0.016 2856** 3032** 3389** Sex 11 1352 15661** 17908** Dam age 2 0.446* 0. 173* 3036* 960 824* Sire breed 2 0.302* 0.164 3392* 9212** 5868** F1 dam breed2 2 0.476** 0.048 656 1495 2358** R-AB dams3 1 0.000 0.041 1433 226 54 R-AC dams 1 0.015 0.024 456 130 482 R-BC dims 1 0.112 0.038 2194 392 50 Remainder 5714 0.098 0.056 833 493 249 1 d.f. only for production traits. 2 F1 dam reciprocals combination. 3 Reciprocal F1 dams. 4 Remainder d.f. for survival is 500 and for calf data 468. P < 0.05. ** P < 0.01.

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Maternal Effects on Reproduction and Production Traits of Reciprocal F 1 Dams of Angus,.... 6 Table 2. Table 2. Reproduction and production traits of reciprocal F1 dams of the Angus (A), Brahman(B), and Charolais (C) breeds. Breed Group Number of observations Pregnancy (%) Number of observations Calf survival (%) Number of Observations Calf age (days) Weaning weight (lb)1 205-day weight (lb)1 F1 dams2,3 AB, BA 218 91.2.7 202 95.6.1 193 224.3.7 503.3.4 467.5.6 AC, CA 185 81.2.5 149 91.9.1 138 228.4.7 484.0.4 443.6.6 BC, CB 184 89.4.5 165 92.9.0 154 224.7.5 501.7.0 466.3.3 Reciprocal F1 Dams AB 171 91.4.6 159 93.8.1 151 227.6.6 507.5.2 465.5.4 BA 47 91.1.6 43 97.3.7 42 220.9.5 499.1.0 469.6.8 AC 113 82.1.0 92 93.2.5 86 226.5.2 487.1.8 449.8.5 CA 72 80.2.8 57 90.5.2 52 230.3.1 480.8.0 437.5.1 BC 78 86.9.7 67 94.5.0 64 220.8.7 496.4.0 468.1.4

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Maternal Effects on Reproduction and Production Traits of Reciprocal F 1 Dams of Angus,.... 7 Table 2. CB 106 92.0.2 98 91.3.5 90 228.6.0 506.9.7 464.4.4 1 kg = lb x 0.454. 2 Last letter of pair is dam breed, AB = Angus sire x Brahman dam, BA = Brahman sire x Angus dam. 3 Reciprocals combined. Table 3. Table 3. Mean differences and standard errors of mean differences for calf weights between purebred, between reciprocal F1 calves, and between calves of reciprocal F1 cows. Calf weaning weight Calf 205-day weight Breed groups lb1 Mean difference % lb1 Mean difference % Purebreds Brahman (B) Angus (A) (398.5-403.8) -5.3.3 1.3 (384.7-366.6) 18.1.9* 4.9 Charolais (C) Angus (491.7-403.8) 87.9.1** 21.8 (465.5-366.6) 98.9.8** 27.0 Charolais Brahman (491.7-398.5) 93.2.5** 23.4 (465.5-384.7) 80.8.3** 21.0 Reciprocal F1 calves2

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Maternal Effects on Reproduction and Production Traits of Reciprocal F 1 Dams of Angus,.... 8 Table 3. AB BA (452.9-428.0) 24.9.8 5.8 (427.5-412.9) 14.6.3 3.5 AC CA (477.6-449.5) 28.1.0* 6.2 (457.1-406.3) 50.8.4** 12.7 CB BC (503.4-464.0) 39.4.0** 8.5 (474.8-454.7) 20.1.8* 4.4 Reciprocal F1 cows3 AB BA (507.5-499.1) 8.4.6 1.7 (465.5-469.6) -4.1.0 0.8 AC CA (487.1-480.8) 6.3.7 1.3 (449.8-437.5) 12.3.0 2.8 CB BC (506.9-496.4) 10.5.8 2.1 (464.4-468.1) -3.7.4 0.8 1 kg = lb x 0.454 2 Last letter of pair is dam breed: AB = Angus sire x Brahman dam, BA = Brahman sire x Angus dam; AB BA = Angus sire x Brahman dam minus Brahman sire x Angus dam. 3 Calves of reciprocal F1 cows. P < 0.05. ** P < 0.01.

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Maternal Effects on Reproduction and Production Traits of Reciprocal F 1 Dams of Angus,.... 9 Table 4. Table 4. Mean differences, standard error of differences, and percentage differences for weights between purebreds and between reciprocal F1 cows at mature weight. Purebred cow Reciprocal F1 cow1 Breeds lb2 Mean differences % Breeds lb2 Mean differences % Brahman (B) Angus (A) (947-855) 92.5** 10.8 AB BA (987-954) 33.6 3.5 Charolais (C) Angus (1076-855) 221.1** 25.8 AC CA (1006-958) 48.6** 5.0 Charolais Brahman (1076-947) 129.2** 13.6 BC CB (1057-1048) 9.3 .9 1 AB BA = Mature progeny of A x B vs. B x A. 2 kg = lb x 0.454. ** P < 0.01.