From the Spring 2023 issue of the Isa Informer

Study finds Beefmasters thrive in tropics

By Roderick Gonzalez Murray, Ph.D., IDIAP* Panama
and Sergio Riveron Ponomarenko, Isa Beefmasters

The Beefmaster breed has proven through various studies to be the most efficient breed for beef cattle production in the many diverse ecosystems of the United States—from the arid desert to subtropical Florida, to the northern states with their harsh winters. But a new study in Panama shows Beefmasters achieving excellent results in the hot and humid tropics, one of the most difficult environments for cattle production.

A Beefmaster-cross cow in Panama.
The Institute of Agricultural Innovation of Panama of Panama (IDIAP), at its Gualaca Research Station located in the province of Chiriquí, ­carried out a research project between 2000 and 2022. Researchers studied the effect of crossbreeding 14 different beef breeds on IDIAP’s herd of crossbred commercial cows. Scientists recorded 2,843 data points to evaluate the Age at First Calf (AFC), Calving Interval (CI), Birthweight (BW) and Weaning Weight (WW) performance.
We are pleased to report the excellent results of Beefmaster production in the tropics, as well as the specific performance of Isa Beefmaster’s herdsire L Bar En Fuego in this study (results outlined at right).

After analyzing the results, IDIAP researchers concluded that 50% crossbreeding of Beefmasters in commercial herds has a positive influence on the indices studied. They also found that as the percent of Beefmaster blood increases in the same commercial herds, reaching 75%, the improvement of all the indices is much higher.

This study is the first to evaluate the impact of Beefmaster genetics on beef cattle production in the tropics. The cattle clearly performed well in all the phases most relevant to profitability. These results demonstrate that the Lasater Philosophy, with its Six Essentials, is the best method to maximize economically important traits in any environment.

* Institute of Agricultural Innovation of Panama

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