Group Title: Bulletin - Agricultural Experiment Stations, University of Florida ; 786
Title: Evaluation of the Charolais as straightbred and crossbred for beef production in south central Florida
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00026876/00001
 Material Information
Title: Evaluation of the Charolais as straightbred and crossbred for beef production in south central Florida
Series Title: Bulletin Agricultural Experiment Stations, University of Florida
Physical Description: 7 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Peacock, F. M ( Fentress McCoughan ), 1922-
Publisher: Agricultural Experiment Station, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville
Publication Date: 1977
Subject: Beef cattle -- Breeding   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Bibliography: p. 7.
Statement of Responsibility: F. M. Peacock ... et al..
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00026876
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000881566
oclc - 03224695
notis - AEH9435


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Table of Contents
        Historic note
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
Full Text


The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.

Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida

Bulletin 786 February 1977


F. M. Peacock, M. Koger, J. W. Carpenter,
A. Z. Palmer, J. R. Crockett, and D. E. Franke

',^^ f' A e

Agricultural Experiment Stations
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Unversity of Florida, Gainesville
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F. M. Peacock, M. Koger, J. W. Carpenter, A. Z. Palmer,
J. R. Crockett and D. E. Franke

Mr. Peacock is an Associate Animal Husbandman at the Agricultural
Research Center, Ona. Dr. Koger is an Animal Geneticist and Dr.
Carpenter and Dr. Palmer are Meat Scientists at the University of
Florida, Gainesville. Dr. Crockett is an Associate Animal Geneticist at
the Agricultural Research and Education Center, Belle Glade. Dr. Franke
is an Associate Animal Geneticist, Louisiana State University, Baton
Rouge, Louisiana.

This public document was promulgated at an annual cost
of $762.55 or a cost of 91/2 per copy to present research
data on the performance of the Charolais breed in south
central Florida.


Herd Management ..---....--....-- -.....- .....-- ....--....--.... 1

Reproduction .......-------....... ----------------..........-...... 2

Weaning Traits of Calves ....-----..---........ ..----.----------..- 3

Feedlot Performance and Carcass Characteristics ...---------.. 5

Summary and Conclusion ---....--.......----.. ...-.....---------..---- 6

Literature Cited .......-----.. --...-....--..-- ....----..-....----.... 7


Breed differences in production traits of beef cattle afford
cattlemen the opportunity to select for characteristics best suited
to their environmental conditions. Improvement in beef produc-
tion is achieved both by utilizing additive breed effects and by
capitalizing on heterosis through combining breeds for specific
The typical Charolais is a big, long-bodied, heavily muscled,
fast growing animal. Mature bulls usually weigh from 2,000 to
2,500 pounds and mature cows weigh 1,250 to 1,600 pounds, de-
pending on conditions.
Recognizing the desirable production traits of the breed, re-
searchers in Florida initiated a program to explore the breed's
value for beef production under south central Florida conditions.
This research began in 1960 at the Agricultural Research Center
(ARC), Ona, Florida, with the purchase of 1/2 Charolais-1/2
Brahman and /4Charolais-1/4 Brahman females and the loan of
a Charolais bull which was used also on Brahman and Shorthorn
cows owned by the center. A formal project, evaluating the
Charolais, Brahman, and Angus breeds, was initiated in 1963.
The Charolais cows used in comparison with other breeds were
high grades, most being descendants from the foundation 3/4
Charolais cows and Charolais bulls.
The objective of this report is to present research data on
performance of the Charolais breed as observed under south cen-
tral Florida conditions.

Herd Management
Herds were maintained on improved grass pastures, mostly
Pangola digitgrass (Digitaria decumbens Stent.) moderately
fertilized, and the cows were supplemented with approximately
5 pounds of a mixture containing either citrus meal or citrus
pulp and cottonseed meal (4:1 ratio) or 5 pounds of cane mo-
lasses per head per day for 60 to 90 days during late winter
and early spring. The breeding season was restricted to 105
days (March 15 to June 30, 1960-62) and 90 days (March 10 to
June 10, 1963-66 and March 1 to June 1, 1967-73). All calves
were weaned at the same time in late August or early September.


Reproduction generally is considered to be one of the most
important criteria used in evaluating beef cattle. The measure
of reproduction which is of major interest to the producer, and
the one of major economic value, is weaning rate. This reflects
pregnancy rate in the cows and survival rate of the calves.
Research was conducted to evaluate reproductive perfor-
mance of Charolais when straightbred and when crossed with
the Brahman and Angus breeds. Results showed Charolais cows
to compare favorably with cows of these breeds for both preg-
nancy rate and calf survival (Table 1). Pregnancy rates were
similar for Charolais and Brahman cows, being 81.1% and
82.5 %, respectively, whereas Angus cows, which were introduced
to the station in 1962, had a rate of only 73.7%. The low preg-
nancy rate of Angus cows indicated their lack of adaptability to
the existing environmental conditions.
Calf survival from birth to weaning is an important factor
affecting net reproductive efficiency. Results showed a 96.1%
survival rate for calves from Charolais cows compared with
86.5% and 99.6%, respectively, for Angus and Brahman.
Researchers in Missouri (Sagebiel et al. 1969) found Charo-
lais-sired crossbred calves to have higher dystocia scores than
either Angus or Hereford-sired calves. Crossbred calves born to
Angus cows had higher dystocia scores than crossbred calves
from Hereford and Charolais cows. Frequencies of difficult
births in Angus heifers mated to Charolais, Hereford and Angus
bulls were 58%, 36%, and 11%, respectively. Correlation coef-
ficients between birthweight, expressed as percent of cow weight,
and dystocia score were .41 for Angus, .30 for Hereford and .24
for Charolais, indicating that some dystocia occurs with large
calves relative to cow size. Montana researchers (Pahnish et al.
1969) reported no heterosis for birthweight of Fi Angus x
Charolais calves, while reciprocal Fi Charolais x Angus calves
showed heterosis levels of 4.6% and 5.1%, respectively, for

Table 1. Reproductive performance of Charolais, Angus, and Brahman Cows
when bred to Charolais bulls.
Breed of No. Pregnancy Survival Weaning
cow matings rate % rate % rate %
Charolais 136 81.1 96.1 77.9
Angus 112 73.7 86.5 63.8
Brahman 121 82.5 99.6 82.2


males and females. Birthweight of straightbred Angus calves
averaged 70 pounds compared to 84 pounds for Fi Charolais x
Angus calves, a 20% increase. These studies showed survival
rate to be influenced by size or birthweight of calves relative to
cow size. Calving difficulties can result from average breed ef-
fect or heterosis in birthweight of calf and is more likely to
occur by breeding bulls of larger breeds to cows of smaller
breeds. The Missouri and Montana results may explain partially
the low survival rate (86.5%) of Charolais x Angus calves
(Table 1).
Weaning rate is the most important measurement of repro-
duction. The weaning rate for Charolais was 77.9%, compared
to 63.8T% for Angus and 82.2% for Brahman (Table 1). Thus
Charolais cows when straightbred had a higher weaning rate
than Angus cows mated to Charolais bulls. However, Brahman
cows mated to Charolais bulls weaned more calves per 100 cows
than did either of the other two breeds. This was due to slightly
higher pregnancy and survival rates for Brahman cows than for
Weaning Traits of Calves
Calf weaning weight is an extremely important economic
trait, and in conjunction with reproduction determines total cow
productivity. Weaning weight is influenced by milk production
of the cow and genetic growth potential of the calf.
Initial research involved breeding Charolais bulls to Brah-
man, Shorthorn, Charolais-Brahman, and Charolais-Shorthorn
cross females. The objective was to determine how the Charo-
lais combined with other breeds and the effect the percentage
of Charolais breed composition had on productivity. Results from
the initial six years of work on weaning weight are given in
Table 2.
Earlier research by Peacock et al. (1960) showed that when
either Shorthorn or Brahman breeding exceeded 3/4 in the off-
spring, weaning weight was depressed. Results from research
with Charolais showed the same trend; however, a relatively
high weaning weight was obtained even when Charolais breeding
exceeded the 3, level. These results indicated large additive breed
effects for size in the Charolais breed associated with acceptable
Complementary breed combinations for weaning weight also
were expressed in this study. Data in Table 2 clearly show a
superiority of Charolais-Brahman dams over Charolais-Short-


Table 2. Weaning weight and adjusted 205-day weight of calves sired by
Charolais bulls from Brahman, Shorthorn, Charolais x Shorthorn,
and Charolais x Brahman cows.
No. Weaning 205-day
Breed of calf calves wt., Ibs. wt., Ibs.

15/16 Charolais-1/16 Brahman 21 544 511
7/8 Charolais-1/8 Brahman 41 537 516
3/4 Charolais-1/4 Brahman 33 590 526
1/2 Charolais-1/2 Brahman 45 506 489
3/4 Charolais-1/4 Shorthorn 13 485 432
1/2 Charolais-1/2 Shorthorn 29 455 409

horn dams. The heaviest weaning weights were obtained from
mating Fi Charolais x Brahman cows to Charolais bulls to com-
bine the good maternal performance of the dam with a calf
having good growth potential.
Research also was conducted with Charolais, Angus, and
Brahman to evaluate combining abilities of the three breeds.
Eleven years of data comparing the productivity of Charolais,
Angus, and Brahman cows when bred to Charolais bulls are
presented in Table 3.
Condition score of calves from Charolais cows (9.4) was
slightly lower than for Fi calves (9.7) from Angus and Brahman
cows. Weaning weights of calves were highest for pure Charolais
(519 pounds). Weight of hybrid calves from Brahman cows (506
pounds) was next in order, with calves from Angus cows being
lowest (450 pounds). Franke et al. (1975), from analyzing
records (1960 to 1972) of the Beef Cattle Improvement Asso-
ciation in Florida herds, found the Charolais to wean at the

Table 3. Weaning traits of calves and production per cow of Charolais,
Angus, and Brahman cows when bred to Charolais bulls.
Adjusted Annual
Breed No. Condition Weaning 205-day production/
of cow calves score1 weight weight cow
Ibs. Ibs. Ibs.
Charolais 107 9.4 519 486 404
Angus 72 9.7 450 405 287
Brahman 99 9.7 506 472 416

19, Low Good; 10, Good.


heaviest weight of all breeds studied. Mean weaning weights ad-
justed to 205 days of age were 402, 405, 507, 392, and 455 pounds
for the Angus, Brahman, Charolais, Hereford and Santa Ger-
trudis, respectively.
Calf production per cow was slightly higher for Brahman
cows (416 pounds) than for Charolais (404 pounds), whereas
Angus were the lowest at 287 pounds (Table 3). The change in
rank of the Charolais and Brahman cows for weaning weight of
calves and production per cow was due to a slightly higher preg-
nancy rate in Brahman cows and higher survival rate of calves
from Brahman cows (Table 1), emphasizing the importance of
pregnancy and calf survival on cow production. Data from this
study support the earlier study, indicating large additive effects
for growth in the Charolais breed. This characteristic shows good
complementarity with the excellent maternal ability of the Brah-
man cow.

Feedlot Performance and Carcass Characteristics
Feedlot performance and carcass data were obtained by full-
feeding weanling steer calves in the feedlot for 178 days. Final
feedlot weights were determined by adjusting final weight to a
60% chilled dressing percentage for all breeds. The adjustment
was made by dividing chilled carcass weight by .60. Results are
presented in Table 4.

Table 4. Feedlot performance and carcass characteristics of Charolais,
Charolais x Angus, and Charolais x Brahman steers.
Charolais C XA C X B

No. of steers 19 23 21
Days on feed 178 178 178
Beginning wt., Ibs. 591 499 554
Adj. final wt., Ibs1 990 897 967
Adj. daily gain, Ibs. 2.24 2.24 2.32
Chilled carcass wt., Ibs. 594 538 580
Dressing percent, % 61.90 61.97 62.58
Federal grade Good Good+ Good
Fat over eye, in. .22 .29 .28
Ribeye area, sq. in. 11.83 10.40 10.51
Est. yield, % 52.13 50.91 50.80
Chilled carcass wt. 0.60 = Adj. final wt.


Daily gain in the feedlot were similar, being 2.24, 2.24, and
2.32 pounds respectively for Charolais, first cross Charolais x
Angus, and Charolais x Brahman steers. Federal carcass grade
(old) was highest for the Charolais x Angus steers at High Good
compared to U.S. Good for carcass of the Charolais and Charo-
lais x Brahman, expressing the superiority of the Angus breed
for carcass quality.
Charolais carcasses had the least amount of fat over the eye,
largest ribeye area, and the largest estimated percent yield of
wholesale cuts of the three breed groups. Measurements of these
traits were similar for the Charolais x Angus and Charolais x
Brahman carcasses.

Summary and Conclusion
Calving rates of Charolais, Angus and Brahman cows bred
to Charolais bulls were 81.1%, 73.7%, and 82.5%, respectively,
with corresponding survival rates of 96.1%, 86.5%, and 99.6%.
Breeding Charolais bulls to Angus cows resulted in a lower preg-
nancy rate in the cows and a lower survival rate of calves. Higher
weaning weights were obtained by Charolais x Brahman combina-
tions than Charolais x Shorthorn or Charolais x Angus. Adjusted
205-day weaning weights from grading up from pure Brahman
were 489 pounds for the Fi Charolais x Brahman, 526 pounds for
% Charolais-1/ Brahman, 516 pounds for 7/8 Charolais-1/8
Brahman, and 511 pounds for 15/16 Charolais-1/16 Brahman.
Adjusted 205-day weights were 409 pounds for the Fi Charolais
x Shorthorn and 432 pounds for 3/ Charolais-14 Shorthorn
Weaning weights and 205-day weights for calves produced,
and annual production per cow for Charolais, Angus, and Brah-
man cows bred to Charolais bulls were: 519, 450, and 506 pounds;
485, 405, and 472 pounds; and 404, 287, and 416 pounds, re-
Feedlot daily gains, federal quality grade, fat over the ribeye,
and estimated yield for Charolais, Charolais x Angus, and Charo-
lais x Brahman steers, respectively, were 2.24, 2.24, and 2.32
pounds; U.S. Good, High Good, and U.S. Good; .22, .29, and .28
inches and 52.13, 50.91, and 50.80%.
The large additive breed effects of the Charolais for growth,
heterosis for maternal components in the Fi Charolais x Brah-
man cow, and carcass quality of the Angus offer the producer
alternative emphases in his production goals. Caution should be


exercised in crossing Charolais bulls on Angus cows in order to
minimize calving problems.

Literature Cited
1. Franke, D. E., J. E. Pace, and H. Martojo. 1975. Factors influencing
weaning performance in Florida BCIA herds. Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta. Tech.
Bull. 772.
2. Pahnish, O. F., J. S. Brinks, J. J. Wick, 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.
3. Peacock, F. M., W. G. Kirk, E. M. Hodges, W. L. Reynolds, and M.
Koger. 1960. Genetic and environmental influences on weaning weight
and slaughter grade of Brahman, Shorthorn and Brahman-Shorthorn
crossbred calves. Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta. Tech. Bull. 624.
4. Sagebeil, Joe G., G. F. Krause, Bob Sebbil, L. Langford, J. E. Comfort,
A. J. Dyer, and John F. Lasley. 1969. Dystocia in reciprocally crossed
Angus, Hereford and Charolais cattle. J. Anim. Sci. 29:245.


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