Our objective was to evaluate the metabolic, endocrine and hepatic mRNA profiles through the gestation–lactation cycle in purebred (PU: Angus and Hereford) and crossbred (CR: reciprocal F1 crosses) mutliparous beef cows (n=32), grazing on two herbage allowances of native pastures (2.5 v. 4 kg dry matter/kg BW; LO v. HI) and their associations with cow’s productive performance (calf birth weight, milk production and commencement of luteal activity). Cow BW, body condition score (BCS) and blood samples were collected monthly, starting at −165 days relative to calving (days), and every 2 weeks after calving until +60 days of lactation. Liver biopsies were collected at −165, −75, −45, −15±10, and +15 and +60±3 days. Metabolic, endocrine and hepatic gene expression profiles, and calf birth weight, milk yield and postpartum commencement of luteal activity were evaluated. Overall, the most pronounced changes in metabolic, endocrine and hepatic gene expression occurred during winter gestation (−165 to −45 days), when all cows experienced the onset of a negative energy balance (decreased BCS, glucose and insulin, and increased non-esterified fatty acid concentrations, P<0.008). Concentrations of insulin and IGF-I were greater (P<0.037) in HI than in LO cows. However, serum IGF-I concentrations and hepatic growth hormone receptor (GHR) and IGF1 mRNA decreased (P<0.05) during the winter gestation period only in HI cows. Although IGF-I concentrations decreased (P<0.05) during the early postpartum (−15 v.+15 days) for all cows, the typical molecular mechanism that control the uncoupling of the growth hormone-IGF1 axis during the transition period of the dairy cattle (reduced hepatic GHR1A and IGF-I mRNA) was not observed in this study. The hepatic mRNA expression of key transcripts involved in gluconeogenesis and fatty-acid oxidation were upregulated (P<0.05) during winter gestation (from −165 to −45, −15 or +15 days, depending on the cow groups). Particularly, acyl-CoA oxidase-1 mRNA was greater for CR than for PU cows during winter gestation (−75 and −45 days), and fibroblast growth factor-21 mRNA was downregulated (P<0.01) only for HI cows during the transition (−15 v. 15 days) and lactation period (+15 to +60 days, P<0.01). These results, together with the greater BCS, estimated energy intake, increased milk yield and shorter commencement of luteal activity in HI than in LO, and in CR than in PU cows (P<0.018), would indicate that HI and CR cows were able to adapt more efficiently to changes in nutrient and energy supply through the gestation–lactation cycle.