The Stabiliser breed is a multi-breed composite established in Colorado by the Leachman Cattle Company in the 1970s.
Four breeds make up the Stabiliser - the Simmental, Red Angus, South Devon and Gelbvieh. The breed combines the fleshing ability, marbling, and moderate-size of the British breeds with the muscle, milk, and growth of continental breeds.
While they are not actually a pure breed, the Stabiliser society is recognised as a pedigree breed organisation under EU regulations.
Studies have shown that hybrid vigour has a large impact on beef cattle productivity. Crossbred cows have been proven to be more productive than purebred cows in multiple areas including: increased milk production; better body condition; fertility; and longevity.
Researchers at Meat Animal Research Center (MARC) in Nebraska have confirmed that multi-breed composites retain hybrid vigour in proportion to the number of breeds used. Therefore, using more breeds generates more retention of hybrid vigour.
As a four-breed composite, the Stabiliser retains 75% of the F1 hybrid vigour, allowing farmers to crossbreed and keep most of the available hybrid vigour without the complexity and loss of uniformity associated with crossbreeding.
Feedlot owners in America like even batches of cattle and at the other end the factories like even batches of carcases. The idea for the Stabiliser was to use the four-breed composite to breed a predictable result - calves of the same shape, red/black colour and grade.
These desirable traits, along with others, have seen the Stabiliser breed gather momentum in Ireland and the U.K.
Stabiliser suckler herds deliver high-quality beef from a low-cost production base. Cows are bred to have a moderate frame, with high fertility, longevity and easy-calving.
Calves from the Stabiliser suckler herd have good growth and carcase merit. One of the other benefits of the breed is a high calf survival rate.
Newborn calves weigh approximately 35kgs, while cows weigh, on average, 600kg. A mature stock bull can reach up to 800kg, with potential to exceed this weight bracket.
More information about the breed can be found on the Leachman Cattle Company website.
Photo credit: MED Partnership Group