Shorthorn and Red Angus breeders across the United States can now look to the American Shorthorn Association for a composite breeding strategy that will capitalize on breed complimentarily and heterosis. The Durham Red Program capitalizes on the exclusive use of two great breeds – Shorthorn and Red Angus. As the only 100-percent British breed composite, a first in the industry, Durham Reds will have no continental breed influence, thus they won’t sacrifice quality grade or maternal ability.
The Durham Red Program, an innovation in the industry, will further establish Shorthorn genetics in America’s cow herd. As an alternate source for data-backed genetics, the ASA will require performance data prior to registration and utilize multi-breed EPD analysis when estimating the genetic value of an animal.
To capitalize on the composite trend and to sell more Shorthorns through commercial avenues, the Durham Red Program allows for the introduction of Shorthorn genetics to the commercial cattle industry via a hybrid with superior benefits. Once commercial cattlemen witness the benefits of Shorthorn genetics, they’ll likely realize more Shorthorn is better. Additionally, by utilizing the Shorthorn registry, the ShorthornPlus Program, and now the Durham Red Program, Shorthorn breeders can maintain Shorthorn influence in all their seedstock offerings.
Biologically the two breeds compliment each other with Shorthorn adding growth, efficient gain, leanness, and docility while Red Angus contribute low birth weight and fleshing ability. The Red Angus influence will also open many avenues to Angus-based feeder calf, grid-merchandising, and beef programs.
The Durham Red Program will further the Shorthorn cause and are predicted to be an additive to current registrations. Many Red Angus breeders have expressed interest in creating Durham Red cattle by using Shorthorn bulls on their Red Angus cows. The net result will be increased revenue to the Shorthorn Association to spend on the promotion of Shorthorn genetics and other Shorthorn related service-based programs.
The Durham Red breed composition will consist of no less than 25 percent and up to 75 percent Shorthorn blood with the remainder coming from Red Angus. The parents must be registered with the American Shorthorn Association or the Red Angus Association of America. The program does not allow for blood from a third breed or of unknown breed composition. Breeders can strive for either more Shorthorn parentage or more Red Angus parentage utilizing a multitude of crossbreeding strategies to optimize characteristics from either breed.
While the same cross could be achieved under the ShorthornPlus Program in place, the Durham Red Program will differ as performance reporting is mandatory. Red Angus EPD’s will be incorporated into the analysis of all Durham Red’s performance calculations. Durham Reds will receive a ShorthornPlus certificate in place of a Durham Red registration certificate until birth weight, calving ease score, weaning weight, yearling weight, and yearling scrotal circumference is submitted. Additionally, all Durham Reds will need to be proven TH free by test or pedigree before an official registration certificate is issued. Only after receiving this data will an official Durham Red registration certificate be issued by the ASA.