Using Luing Genetics Effectively

There are a number of ways Luing cattle could be used effectively to improve your cattle herd and your bottom line.  Some of the best options involve the use of Luing bulls or cows in a cross breeding program.

 

The Advantage of Cross Bred Cattle

Breeding a bull from one breed of cattle to a cow of a different breed is termed cross breeding and results in cross bred progeny.  Research has shown the performance of these first generation of cross bred animals is better than either of their parents.  The increased performance is attributed to a genetic phenomena termed heterozygosity, which is also called hybrid vigor.  In its simplest form, the combination of genes from distinctly different parents results in a genetic combination that produces cattle with superior growth, longevity and fertility.  While there is an extremely complicated genetic explanation of how heterozygosity works, cattlemen can use straightforward approaches to take advantage of the benefits of cross bred cattle.

 

Pure bred cattle are considered genetically homozygous (the opposite of heterozygous) on the basis of the similarity of the genes within the breed,  The first cross between two different breeds of cattle is called an F1 cross and the genetic makeup of the animal is considered heterozygous as it is the result of the mixing of two different sets of genes. Due to their enhanced performance and uniformity the F1 offspring are particularly suitable as slaughter stock or to produce cows to be crossed with a third breed of cattle.  Breeding F1 cows to a bull of a third breed captures the maximum amount of heterosis of any cross breeding system.

It is also important to know crossing F1 cattle with other F1 cattle does not produce offspring that have equal or better performance than their F1 parents.  

 

The most successful cross bred cattle are produced by using breeds that are are as genetically different as possible as this increases levels of heterosis.  Luing cattle are well suited for this purpose as the Luing gene pool is distinctly different from all the  common cattle breeds in Canada.   They also have some useful traits to contribute to a cross breeding program including fertility, calving ease, insulating winter coat and foraging ability.

 

 

 

 

Terminal Cross with Luing Cows

Mating Luing females to a terminal breed like Charolais allows you to benefit from hybrid vigor by producing heavier calves while retaining the maternal efficiency of your cow herd. This system produces F1 calves for sale that have outstanding market acceptance. 

 

 

Luing Bull Crossed with Maternal Cows

Mating Luing bulls to a breed with maternal genetics like Red Angus captures hybrid vigor as well as breed complementarity. The resulting F1 heifers are in high demand in the marketplace or can be retained as replacements within the herd. 

Mating these F1 females to a terminal sire maximizes hybrid vigor allowing you to benefit both from increased calf weaning weight and cow fertility/longevity. 

 

Luing Bull for Heifers

Using a Luing bull as a calving ease sire on heifers of any breed will minimize your problems and maximize your number of live calves. While most breeds advertise “cow bull” and “heifer bull” strains we consider the whole Luing breed to be suitable for use on heifers. 

 

 

 

Terminal use of Luings To Produce Beef

Although lacking the rapid growth rates and large mature size of a terminal breed some producers use Luings in a terminal role. Their goal is to utilize the breed’s unique beef quality traits in niche grass-fed beef markets. Well fattened Luing beef is fine grained and tender which has earned it recognition as a premium product with consumers. 

 

Pure bred Luing

Maintaining a pure bred Luing herd allows for a self-sustaining and predictable population that will be better acclimatized to their environment and the owners management.   Maintaining a closed herd reduces the risk of introducing disease or health problems into your herd.  Purebreds seem to be tougher than crossbreds with greater resilience during adverse weather events and other challenges.  

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© 2019 Iain Aitken