When you hear us talk about heterosis and complementarity we aren't just throwing around marketing buzzwords; these are the concepts on which our breeding program is built.

We aren't alone in our support of complementarity - and using composite breeding programs, read what the experts have to say about the kind of breeding program in place at Ball Ranch…

Excerpt from "Breeding Basics" in DROVERS:

"Properly designed beef cattle crossbreeding programs have the potential to substantially improve production efficiency" says Texas A&M University beef cattle geneticist Andy Herring.

"For moderately heritable traits such as growth and milk production, we might find a 10 percent advantage when the parents are from two different breeds,” he says. “The big difference is in less-heritable traits such as calf survivability, weaning weights, fertility and longevity, where heterosis can provide a 25 to 30 percent advantage.”

Excerpt from "Bred for Better Business" in PROGRESSIVE FARMER:

"There are two reasons to use hybrid and composite bulls. First is hybrid vigor. [And] second is to use breed complementarity [or matching the strengths of different breeds]. For instance, British cattle are known for marbling, which results in higher percentages of Choice and Prime USDA quality grades. Continental breeds are growthy and produce desirable yield grades. And Brahman cattle contribute heat tolerance. Complementarity is the right mix of growthiness and carcass quality matched to the land’s resources and environment."

USDA researcher Larry Cundiff studied the offspring of thousands of hybrid and composite bulls at the USDA Meat Animal Research Center. “In our long-term study, most of the heterosis is retained by using composite and hybrid bulls,” says Cundiff. “Uniformity is not a problem.”

Until you get a uniform breed mix in your cow herd, you’ll be better off with a purebred bull, especially if you save replacement heifers, notes Allen Williams, Mississippi Extension beef specialist. If you use hybrid bulls, start with a definite plan for a mating system and have a marketing goal in mind. “Pure and simple, have a plan,” he says.

Hybrid or composite bulls have a lot of potential benefits for the beef industry, with emphasis on carcass quality,” says N.C. State Extension beef specialist, Roger McCraw.

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