Combining Unique Bovine Genetics from Two Continents
by Stewart H. Fowler, Ph.D.
The breeding objective is to combine the desirable
unique traits of these historically old breeds into a new breed that
is better adapted to specific environmental and economic conditions.
The Texas Longhorn was "Made in America"
by Nature over a 500-year period; and the Devon, "The Beef Breed
Supreme at Grass," was introduced to America from England in 1623!
The TEXON is being genetically engineered to
combine the grass utilization of the Devon with the browsing ability
of the Texas Longhorn and the marbling of the Devon with the leanness
and favorable unsaturated fatty acids of Texas Longhorn beef.
Traits common to both breeds include: high fertility,
calving ease, climatic adaptation, and longevity.
It is hoped to add a bit of disease and parasite
resistance from the Texas Longhorn and good milk production of the Devon.
The Texon project was initiated in 1989 and
is utilizing reciprocal crosses to exploit the fullest genetic diversity
from both breeds. The F-1 (first-cross) is not a TEXON; it is a crossbred
which possesses great genetic variability. Several breeding routes are
being explored (backcrosses, F-2s, etc.).
To "fix" the desired traits and to
increase the homozygosity (purity) of the desired gene pairs, selection
and exploratory matings will be followed by mild inbreeding and/or linebreeding.
As an aid to sound selection foundation animals
are being evaluated through feedlots and packing plants; and some bulls
are being put through forage bull tests.
At present a specific breed-percentage composition
has not been projected for purebred TEXONS. The final breed percentages
will evolve through selection for phenotypic appearance and performance.
When TEXON cattle look and perform like expected
for TEXONS, breed composition will automatically be established. Breed
development is being based on: (1) quality stock on both sides of the
pedigree (2) strict selection (3) performance, and (4) unbiased data.
To guide the selection programs a precise mental
picture of the "end product" is essential. The purebred TEXON
is visualized as a red, polled, docile animal with a short, sleek summer
The TEXON will be medium in mature size (cows
900 to 1100 pounds) and will have dense, clean-cut, flat, medium-sized
bone. It will possess a strong muscle pattern, exhibit trimness of middle,
and have adequate length of leg to cover pastures and rangeland. Conformation
will evolve from selection for "beef where beef counts."
TEXON females will exhibit distinct femininity
and will possess substantial vulva development and well-developed udders
that have strong suspensory ligaments and well-spaced teats of a size
that calves have no difficulty in suckling.
TEXON bulls will exhibit robust, pronounced
masculinity and aggressive libido, trim sheaths, and well-developed
testicles. An alert (but not ill-tempered or vicious) disposition will
The "Texon" name was trademarked in
1991, and the International Texon Cattle Association was incorporated
under the laws of the State of Texas in September 1991.
The major cooperators in Texon breed development
are Dr. Robert M. Simpson, Wild Plum Ranch, Duncan, Oklahoma, and Dr.
Gerard A. Engh, Lakota Farm, Remington, Virginia. Other breed cooperators
are located in Oklahoma, Texas, and Alabama.
The photographs and information contained on
this page are provided courtesy of International Texon Cattle Association,
Berry Pines, Apt. 4F, 1250 Berryhill Rd., Milton, FL 32570-4178.