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REPRODUCTION AND CALF GROWTH IN BRAHMAN CROSSBRED AND SOUTH EAST ASIAN CATTLE IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA

  • Holmes, J.H.G. (Animal Production Section, School of Agricultural Forestry, The University of Melbourne) ;
  • McKinnon, M.J. (CSIRO, Division of Tropical Animal Science) ;
  • Seifert, G.W. (CSIRO, Division of Tropical Animal Science) ;
  • Schottler, J.H. (ACIL NTTAID Project) ;
  • Bannick, A. (University of Technology, LAE) ;
  • Malik, R. (University of Technology, LAE)
  • Received : 1991.05.06
  • Accepted : 1992.02.12
  • Published : 1992.09.01

Abstract

Reproduction and growth to weaning were compared for Brahman crossbred (BX) and a local strain of South-East Asian cattle, "Javanese Zebu" (JZ) and their reciprocal crosses at "Erap" in the humid equatorial lowlands of Papua New Guinea. Forty heifers of each breed were mated continuously, half to bulls of each breed, for five years. BX calved first at 35 months while JZ calved at 31 months. Subsequent calving intervals were very short, at 370 and 341 days. JZ cows weighed about two thirds of the BX cattle at each stage of reproduction. Birth weights and growth to weaning were : BX 35 kg and 0.68 kg/d ; BX male $\times$ JZ female 29.3 kg and 0.53 kg/d ; JZ male $\times$ BX female 30.8 kg and 0.61 kg/d ; JZ 25 kg and 0.50 kg/d. The combination of small cow size, short calving interval and rapid calf growth resulted in the BX male $\times$ JZ female being the most efficient producer, in kg of calf weaned per cow mated per year while the reciprocal cross was the least efficient ; both straight-breds were equal and intermediate. These data show that indigenous equatorial cattle may not be inferior under good grazing conditions. For all traits, breed interactions (heterosis) was small and non-significant.

Keywords

Tropical Cattle;Calving Interval;Weaning Weight