Composite refers to breeds that have been developed by crossing one breed with another. New breeds or new lines that have been bred for the purpose of enhancing hybrid vigour are considered to be composite cattle. Terms such as synthetic, hybrid and stabiliser are also used to describe breeds of this nature.
When tracing the extensive origins of modern cattle, some breeds that are deemed to be ‘purebreds' may in fact turn out to be composite breeds. The objective of composite breeding is to create combinations of desirable traits from different breeds.
Many composites are recognised as distinctive breeds in their own right. Some examples include the Beefmaster, Brangus, Santa Gertudis and Leachman Stabilizer.
Different composite breeding programs have varying agendas. Popular focal points are market traits, paddock performance traits, adaptability, conformation, colour and fertility.