Two-, three-, and four-breed rotational crossbreeding of beef cattle: carcass traits.

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Carcass data from 1,494 straightbred and rotational crossbred steers were collected over four generations. Mating systems included straightbreds (Angus [A], Brahman [B], Charolais [C], and Hereford [H]); two-breed rotations (A-B, C-B, and H-B); three-breed rotations (A-B-C, A-B-H, and B-C-H); and a four-breed rotation (A-B-C-H). Steers were randomly allocated to one of four postweaning treatments that varied in length of grazing and feeding periods. Treatment and breed group (four straightbreds and seven rotational combinations) significantly influenced hot carcass weight (HCWT), retail yield (RY), longissimus muscle area (LM), fat thickness (FT), marbling score (MS), USDA quality grade (QG), and Warner-Bratzler shear force (WBS). Feeding for longer periods resulted in greater (P < .05) HCWT, RY, FT, and MS, higher QG, and lower (P < .05) WBS values. Among the straightbreds, C was heavier and larger for HCWT, RY, and LM (P < .01), whereas A and H had greater (P < .01) FT and MS. The B was similar to H for HCWT, RY, and LM and to C for FT but ranked last (P < .01) for MS and WBS. Three- and four-breed rotational mating systems were superior (P < .05) to the two-breed rotation for HCWT, RY, and LM but were similar for FT, MS, and WBS. Rotational combinations exceeded (P < .05) the straightbreds for all carcass traits except MS.

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Journal of animal science

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