I'm trying to start a small mixed production operation (milk & meat)
A friend of mine offered me some cross bred heifers (6 mos old):
- Holsteins sired with Belgian Blues
- Holsteins sired with Charolais
He's keeping the male calves for beef production
My questions are:
- Any ideas what breed would I cross them with for a better heterosis?
- Sire them with Montbeliards? Limousin? Charolais? BBB?
Any ideas? Any recommendations? Thanks a lot
First, belgian blue sired heifers milks far more than charolais sired heifers.
Out of the mentioned breeds all provide good heterosis, except for charolais on charolais sired heifers. Charolais is not a breed to AI heifers with at all due to very big calves. Limousin gives you good muscle and and growth, and very little milk.
Montbeliarde has more milk and decent growth, and less muscle.
Use VIKING RED semen this first year, safer calvings than holstein, more muscle than holsteins, less than montbelliarde, somewhere halfway between. And the provide good milk, closer to holsteins than to montbelliarde.
Later years, stay on the same course, or if meat is very important, go to montbelliarde.
It is safe to use BB semen on first cross BB cows, later generations may lead to seriously difficult calvings. Simmethal (Fleckvieh) is an option too, with decent milk and great growth, often big calves so not an option for the first calf.
Also, Piedmontese can be a choice, great muscle, decent growth and milk.
All my answers assume that you keep replacements for milking. If not, limousine is a fine breed for this kind of crossing.