At 145 pounds, Gelbvieh cows showed moderate mature weight when compared to seven large American breeds in a new study.
Research by scientists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the US Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) has been published on breed and the heterotic effects of mature weight in beef cattle. This research was conducted using more than 5,000 crossbred cows from USMARC’s Germplasm Evaluation Program and 108,957 weight records collected from weaning through 6 years of age.
The Germplasm Evaluation Program provides a comprehensive comparison of various traits of the most economically important breeds in the United States.
In the study, “Breed and Heterotic Effects for Mature Weight in Beef Cattle” published in the August 2021 Journal of Animal Science, the heritability estimate for mature weight from the data was 0.56, meaning that a response will be seen when selection pressure is applied to the stroke.
Regarding breed differences, 16 different beef breeds were assessed in the study and the results were expressed as deviations from Angus.
Looking at breed differences from other heavily used breeds, Angus were the heaviest cows in the population. After Angus, Charolais weighed -19.6 pounds; followed by Hereford at -38.5; Simmental at -73.5; Limousin at -95.3; Red Angus at -98.6; and Shorthorn at -132.4, respectively.
Compared to the 16 breeds in the study, Gelbvieh showed the third most moderate height, only behind Braunvieh (-300.7 pounds) and Beefmaster (-151.4).