30 years in the making!
What is a Stabilizer?
Stabilizer cattle are genetically based on research done by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) at their Animal Research Service (ARS) at the Meat Animal Research Center (MARC), at Clay Center, Nebraska, and consist of a blend of British and Continental inputs including: Angus, Red Angus, Simmental, Gelbvieh and South Devon. Initially, the cattle were known as Marc II composites.
Their research showed several advantages that come from crossbreeding. Most importantly they showed that hybrid vigor has a large impact on beef cattle productivity. The research demonstrated an 8% improvement in weaning weight when a purebred cow is mated to a bull of a different breed. The research also showed that crossbred cows are far more productive than purebred cows. The benefits came in multiple areas including more milk production, better body condition, faster re-breeding, and a longer productive lifetime. In total, the crossbred cows weaned 23% more weight than did purebred cows.
A breed built on science.
First designed in the 1970’s by USDA ARS scientists at the Meat Animal Research Center as the Marc II composite: ¼ Red Angus, ¼ Hereford, ¼ Simmental, ¼ Gelbvieh. A private herd was developed by Pat Vinton, Gordon, NE and later sold to the Tessari family in Babb, MT – thus becoming the foundation for the Leachman Stabilizer herd.
Historically, crossbreeding requires the use of complicated mating systems to keep the hybrid vigor effect. Scientists designed rotational systems using three breeds. However, such systems were too complicated. Furthermore, they resulted in wide swings in breed composition, and prevented breeders from having a uniform, well adapted herd. As an alternative, the researchers at MARC developed multi-breed composites. Their study confirmed that such composite breeds retain hybrid vigor in proportion to the number of breeds used - using more breeds generates more retention of hybrid vigor.
From 1988 – 2003, Leachman modernized the Stabilizer composite:
▪ Reduced the birth weight.
▪ Made the cattle solid colored and polled.
▪ Increased the post weaning gain.
▪ Improved convenience traits including disposition and udder quality.
▪ Introduced black lines in addition to the original red lines.
▪ Injected top hybrid and purebred sires form the Angus, Simmental, and Gelbvieh breeds.
In 2003, Leachman Cattle of Colorado was formed with a nucleus of cooperators that included the Tessari herd and several other Stabilizer cooperators.
Stabilizers: Selected with $Profit
Leachman Cattle of Colorado began selecting the Stabilizer using $Profit with significant results:
▪ Dramatic further reduction in birth weight while increasing yearling growth.
▪ Significant improvement on marbling to now exceed average marbling Angus cattle.
▪ Substantial selection for reduced feed intake and improved feed efficiency.
▪ All of which coincided with a huge annual progress on $Profit.
Stabilizer cattle combine the fleshing ability, marbling, and moderate size of the British breeds with the muscle, milk, and growth of the Continental breeds. As a four-breed composite, Stabilizer cattle retain 75% of the F1 hybrid vigor and thus allows producers to crossbreed with simplicity.
Since 1973, the progression of the foundation, Tessari Stabilizer herd has been remarkable. The result?
• Strong maternal function
• Increasingly black and polled
• Improved udder quality and disposition
• Injected with feed efficient, high marbling, heavy muscled Angus from Leachman.
• Selected for breed diversity and muscularity.
Stabilizer bulls and females are for sale at Leachman Cattle of Colorado every day of the year. We'd love to talk with you about how Stabilizers can help improve your herd.