Crossbreeding refers to the science of mating animals derived from different breeds or breed compositions. Although many beef producers choose to breed only purebreds, crossbreeding can result in significant advantages to beef producers. First, beef producers will be able to capture heterosis (also called hybrid vigor), which can improve conception rates, health, weight gain and other traits important for profitability of a beef operation. Second, no single breed is the “best” for every performance trait. By using crossbreeding, we can combine breeds with different strengths and weaknesses to create an animal that is more balanced for relevant performance traits.
Crossbreeding is not for everyone. For example, some grids only accept purebred animals. However, for many producers, developing a crossbreeding system often makes sense. Crossbreeding systems do not need to be complicated. An effective, simple crossbreeding design is essentially “free” and has been proven to increase profitability for beef producers.