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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
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site maintained by the Florida
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Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
Agricultural Research Center,, Ona
Research Report RC-1979-4 (BCSC)
F636 r PERFORM1
MANCE OF THE CHAROLAIS BREED AT
THE RANGE CATTLE STATION
** ** **
q F.M. Peacock Marvin Koger A.Z. Palmer and J.W. Carpenter
Research on the Charolais breed has been conducted at the Range Cattle
Station, Ona since 1960. This early work (1) showed large additive breed
effects for size in the Charolais when graded up from either the purebred
Brahman or Shorthorn base, especially with the Shorthorn. This report reviews
later research involving the Charolais with the Angus and Brahman in various
combinations as straight, FI crosses and back crosses. Both cow-calf and
feedlot-carcass characteristics were studied. Only data pertaining directly
to the Charolais breed are presented.
Herds were maintained on improved Pa igW ss [pywi th moderate
fertilization. The cows were supplemented with hay and approximately 5 pounds
per head per day of either cane molasses )r a uipque cf ining citrus pulp
and cottonseed meal (4:1 ratio) for 60 to 90 days dmrTn'r~gte winter and early
spring. The breeding season was restricted to 90 days, March 1 to June 1.
All calves were weaned at one time in lat t.Fu~4.t- WlnlivBOyFbd er at an
average age of 224 days. Data on cow-calt producIoL ard f -eedoit-carcass
characteristics are presented in the following table.
Table 1. COW-CALF PRODUCTION ANI
SOF CHAROLAIS ANI
Breed of Calf.' C x C
Pregnancy, % 80
Survival rate, % 95
Wean Rate, % 76
Wean weight (Ibs) 492
Adj. 205 wean wt (lb)512
Production/cow (Ibs) 374
Adj. Av. DG ly 2.33
Chilled Carcass 551
Estimated Carcass 5
yield, 7S/ 52.3
Fat over the .16
Federal Grade- (units)13.5
C x B C x AC
2.16 2.23 2.19
51.4 51.9 51.8
A x AC C x CB
2.25 2.21 2.09
50.3 51.8 50.5
13.6 14.0 15.6 14.1 13.8
a/ C=Charolais, A=Angus, B=Brahman. Sire breed is first letter in
b/ Adjusted Average daily gain=normal fill on entering feed and final
weight based on 60 dressing percentage of chilled carcass weight.
c/ Estimated yield %=percent of trimmed boneless retail cuts from the
round, loin, rib and chuck.
d/ 13=Low Good, 14=Good, 15=High Good, 16=Low Choice.
Professor, Agricultural Research Center, Ona, Florida 33865.
Professor, Department of Animal Science, University of Florida,
B x CB
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Pregnancy rate for the straightbred Charolais was comparable to that of
the Angus, Brahman and F- Charolais-Angus cows. The FI Charolais x Brahman
cows had higher pregnancy rates when bred to either Charolais (95%), or
Brahman bulls (85%) than the straightbred Charolais cows (80%).
Survival rates varied with both breed of cow and breed of sire. Charolais
and Brahman cows had the highest calf survival rates of cows bred to Charolais
bulls, 95 and 99%, respectively. Survival rates of calves fim Angus, Fl Angus
x Charolais and FI Charolais x Brahman cows were 83%, 89%7 and 88%, respectively
when sired by Charolaic bulls; however, Angus sires on F Angus x Charolais
had 92% survival and Brahman sires on F, Charolais x Brahman cows, 93% survi-
val. These results clearly show the expected calving difficulties when
Charolais sire.s are used on cows of the smaller breeds.
Weaning rates (pregnancy x survival) favored the Brahman and Charolais
x Brahman cows followed by Charolais with the Angus and F Angus x Charolais
cows lowest, indicating complementarity between the Charolais and Brahman
breeds. These results show the importance of calf survival rate on net
reproductive performance. The survival rate of 83% and the 79% pregnancy
rate for Angus cows resulted in a 66% net weakling rate, and the 95% survival
rate of calves for Charolais cows with their 80% pregnancy rate resulted
in a 76% weaned calf crop.
The adjusted 205 day weaning weights of calves showed the effects due
to both breed size and heterosis from crossing the Charolais and Brahman breeds.
Straightbred Charolais calves averaged 512 Ibs compared to 442 lbs for F1
Charolais x Angus calves and 519 lbs for FI Charolais x Brahman calves. When
Charolais bulls were bred to FI Angus x Charolais cows, weaning weights were
44 Ibs higher than those produced by back crossing to Angus bulls. The same
relative size effects existed when F.1 Charolais x Brahman cows were back
crossed to Charolais (532 1bs) and Brahman bulls (486 lbs). These results
showed the relatively large additive breed effects for size in the Charolais
breed and complementarity of the Clarolais and Brahman for weight of calves.
Production per cow (weaning rate x weaning weight) favored the F1
Charolais x Brahman cow when backcrossed to the Charolais, followed by the
Brahman when bred to Charolais bulLs. Lowest production was observed in the
Angus, followed by F, Auigus x Charolais cows, due principally to pregnancy
and survival rates.
Feedlot dally gains (178 days) were based upon normal fill when entering
feedlot and a final: weight based on a 60 dressing percentage of chilled carcass
weight, eliminating fill and other waste weight factors that contribute to
final weights of slaughter cattle. Daily gains varied among breed groups
with the straightbred ('i.ii-.lais being highest, again emphasizing the breed
effects for size and growth. Observed estimated carcass yield % was highest
for Charolais at 52.37, and lowest for A x AC (50.3%) and B x CB (50.5%). The
A x AC carcasses had low yields due to their high degree of fatness (.36 in.
over the ribeye); the low yield oE B x CB carcasses was probably due to a
lack of meatiness of carcass. The high yield of the Charolais carcasses was
due to both meatiness and low waste fat (.16 in. over the ribeye).
Federal carcass grades of breed groups were inversely related to carcass
yield. The Charolais with a yield of 52.3% graded 13.5 while the A x AC
carcass had the lowest yield, 50.3%, graded 15.6. However the B x CB carcasses
deviated from this relationship, having both low yield 50.5%, and a low
carcass grade (13.8). These data emphasize the growth potential and meati-
ness of the Charolais which resulted in high carcass yields, but relative low
carcass grades; however, carcasses with Angus breeding responded with the
opposite trend increases in carcass grade with a lower yield. These results
emphasize the breed effects for size and growth in the Charolais and the
fattening qualities of the Angus.
Data have been presented on the Charolais breed from research on cow-calf
and feedlot-carcass characteristics. Pregnancy rate for Charolais cows were
similar to the straightbred Angus and Brahman and F1 C x A cows, but lower
than that of F1 C x B cows. With the exception of the higher survival rate
of calves from Brahman and Charolais cows, the use of Charolais bulls resulted
in lower survival rates of calves on smaller cows, adversely effecting net
reproductive performance of these cows. Comparative weaning weights, feedlot
daily gains and carcass yield emphasized the large additive breed size effect
in the Charolais. Carcass grade however was inversely related to carcass
yield and was lowest for the Charolais and Charolais-Brahman crosses and high-
est for carcasses with Angus breeding.
1. Peacock, F. M., M. Koger, J. W. Carpenter, A. Z. Palmer, J. R. Crockett
and D. E. Frank. 1977. Evaluation of the Charolais as straightbred
and crossbred for beef production in south central Florida. Fla. Agr.
Exp. Sta. Bull. 786.