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Santa Cruz

In 1987, the need for a more market acceptable beef animal at King Ranch, Texas, was the topic of conversation from the working pens to the board room. Top producers in the beef and livestock industry were brought in to aid in the project. Educators from the major agricultural universities across the United States were invited to share their knowledge with King Ranch. Twenty-six professors from fourteen universities participated in the formulation of a master breeding plan. These specialists in the various research fields which undergird progressive livestock operations, like King Ranch, included carcass and meat experts, reproduction and physiology scientists, breeds and breeding selection specialists, geneticists, nutritionists, botanists, veterinary scientists, and climatologists.

As a result of these meetings, King Ranch set some short and long term objectives in its breeding plan. Short term objectives included improved production (reproduction and fertility); improved market acceptability (carcass quality - grade and tenderness); and, cull cattle on strict economic considerations. Long term objectives included single breed type mating system using a composite breed; genetic policy that would produce a phenotypic look-alike; and, early sexual maturity with superior carcass quality and grade. The Santa Gertrudis breed was maintained, improved, and made more competitive.

Two breeds were selected to add to the Santa Gertrudis to achieve these goals. Gelbvieh were chosen for their fertility, high growth, early maturity, shortened gestation length, and moderate milk production. Red Angus were selected to add early fertility, ease in calving, high carcass quality, efficiency, and polled characteristics.   more...

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