Impact of Cross – Breeding

Impact of cross – breeding:-

Cross breeding is the process of breeding with the intention to create offspring that share the traits of both parent lineages or to produce an animal with hybrid vigour i.e improved or increased function of any biological quality in a hybrid offspring.

Cross breeding seeks to improve the milk and meat production in cattle, although productive capacity varies depending on the quality of feeding, nutrition and animal husbandry.

Improved variety of cattle and other livestock can increase production efficiency and can reduce the amount of resources and inputs farmers require for livestock production. 

Further, livestock are expected to be affected by climate change in several ways: feed and water limited by droughts, increasing heat stress and changes to disease prevalence.

Cross breeding can increase the resilience of the species to heat stress by reducing the amount of resources they require, thereby increasing the stability of livestock and farmers livelihoods.

Benefits & Limitation


One major advantage of crossbreeding is that it reduces levels of inbreeding, which often causes undesirable recessive disorders and a loss of genetic variation.

Furthermore, crossbreeds benefit from “hybrid vigor” (also called heterosis), whereby traits such as fertility, health and longevity are particularly enhanced by crossbreeding.


Crossbred livestock requires support from a number of improved management techniques, such as vaccination against local diseases, tick control or improved feed in order to achieve their genetic potential.

Thus it requires ‎‎training as well as inputs, to which smallholders and pastoralists may lack access, or for which they simply do not have the financial resources.


Modern livestock breeding methods are often unsuitable for poor households with small flocks of sheep and goats, due to the technologies and costs involved and the skills required.

Community-based breeding increases the productivity and profitability of indigenous breeds without undermining their resilience and genetic integrity, and without expensive interventions.

Community based cross-breeding may be one way to ensure that farmer and pastoralist preferences are taken into account.


The input costs for breeding – labour, feeds and vaccinations – are high, such that on-farm cross breeding may not offer any financial benefits to the farmers.

Farmers also tend to prefer local breeds limiting adoption of improved breeds.

Therefore it may be of greater benefit to integrate indigenous breeds into selection programmes to improve adoption rates of improved crossbreeds.

If you made it to the end of this article, don’t forget to check out our other post on “6 reasons why you need to buy your meat from” here.