Cross Breeding Dairy Cattle for Longevity

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CrossbredJersey21

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I have been doing some research to find out how to increase longevity in dairy cattle and I found some stuff about how cross breeding can allow for this. I was just wondering if anyone has any experience with crossbreeding dairy cattle and is willing to share how many lactations they got out of their cows.
 

Buck Randall

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Cross breeding with what? Some dairies I work with experimented with three way crosses between Holstein/Jersey/Norwegian Red, but I don't know anyone still doing it. The loss in milk production wasn't worth it.

If it's just a hobby, do whatever sounds fun. If you're making a living on dairy cows, stick to Holsteins.
 

moses388

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AI centers like Genex sell cross bred Jersey sires. The breed code is XD.
Creative Genetics of California Inc is a popular source for cross genetics.

Some people like a Holstein x Jersey (HOJO) cross. They say it is a smaller frame size, that eats less, but still maintains milk production. However, smaller cattle pay less at the sale barn.

Sorry, I do not have information on longevity or number of lactations versus pure breds. I would think herd management and living environment would be a large factor.
 

Buck Randall

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I know a lot of Jersey breeders who will completely disagree.

Breed profitability is greatly influenced by whether production is for fluid milk or cheese market.
Of course Jersey breeders will disagree. People can make a living with Jerseys or crossbreds, but the only way they're competing with Holsteins on profitability is in a grazing setup. There are parts of the country where those still exist, but they're pretty much extinct in places where land is worth more than 10,000 an acre.

The vast majority of milk produced in Wisconsin goes into the cheese market, and the vast majority of farms milk Holsteins. Jersey breeders like to look at the higher component percentages, but if you multiply them out by volume of milk produced the Holsteins are still putting more pounds of fat and protein in the tank.

A Jersey will eat less, but virtually all of the other overhead costs are the same per cow. She still needs a stall, she takes roughly the same time to milk, semen to breed, drugs and vaccines. The calves are consistently worth $100-$200 less, and at the end you get paid significantly less when you cull them.
 

Buck Randall

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AI centers like Genex sell cross bred Jersey sires. The breed code is XD.
Creative Genetics of California Inc is a popular source for cross genetics.

Some people like a Holstein x Jersey (HOJO) cross. They say it is a smaller frame size, that eats less, but still maintains milk production. However, smaller cattle pay less at the sale barn.

Sorry, I do not have information on longevity or number of lactations versus pure breds. I would think herd management and living environment would be a large factor.
The F1 crosses do well. The next generation tends to be underwhelming.
 

WFfarm

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We had a Holstein/Angus cross brood cow when I was a kid. She lived to be 22 years old and I don't think she ever misses having a calf.
 

farmerjan

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The holstein - jersey crossbred is one of the worst I have ever dealt with. Have seen hundreds of them over the years here in farms I milk test for. They tend to be much higher strung.... attitudes.... and the combination seems to produce the worst udders... within 3-4 lactations more are sold for breakdown of the rear ligament support, than any of the straight breed bred cows. I have several as nurse cows and can say the same from my personal experience. I breed all mine back to jersey to try to breed back out the holstein... or breed them angus for terminal calves.
Holstein-angus and holstein-hereford are decent for a family type cow... making less milk than a straight holstein for family use... and producing a good calf for beef if bred back to a beef breed. The her/hol cross tend to have less than desireable udders.

Many of my farmers have found over the years that crossing between the dairy breeds is just not worth it. I have several farmers that raised registered animals, and there are several with holsteins still milking in their teens....

One cross that I have seen to be very workable is the holstein/montbeliarde... they tend to be good milkers, and very "beefy" built.... very easy keepers. The "reds" (norwegian and swedish) also seem to make decent crosses as far as milking goes... but have no references as to longevity.

You might want to see if you can get any information from some place like DHIA or another of the dairy/milk testing companies.
 

BC

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Longevity has a lot to do with whether the cows are in a free stall situation or a grazing situation. My neighbors are graziers and have gotten away from straight Holstiens and are using more crosses. The Holstiens are too big to be be good graziers and the black hair color suffersin our East Texas summers. My neighbors have used Norweigen Reds and Montebiliards and seem to like the crosses.
 

Caustic Burno

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The holstein - jersey crossbred is one of the worst I have ever dealt with. Have seen hundreds of them over the years here in farms I milk test for. They tend to be much higher strung.... attitudes.... and the combination seems to produce the worst udders... within 3-4 lactations more are sold for breakdown of the rear ligament support, than any of the straight breed bred cows. I have several as nurse cows and can say the same from my personal experience. I breed all mine back to jersey to try to breed back out the holstein... or breed them angus for terminal calves.
Holstein-angus and holstein-hereford are decent for a family type cow... making less milk than a straight holstein for family use... and producing a good calf for beef if bred back to a beef breed. The her/hol cross tend to have less than desireable udders.

Many of my farmers have found over the years that crossing between the dairy breeds is just not worth it. I have several farmers that raised registered animals, and there are several with holsteins still milking in their teens....

One cross that I have seen to be very workable is the holstein/montbeliarde... they tend to be good milkers, and very "beefy" built.... very easy keepers. The "reds" (norwegian and swedish) also seem to make decent crosses as far as milking goes... but have no references as to longevity.

You might want to see if you can get any information from some place like DHIA or another of the dairy/milk testing companies.
Jerseys work great with Brimmer.
 

cbcr

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Since we have been registering for over 8 years, International Dairy Cattle Registry, what are considered the "non-traditional" dairy breeds, Fleckvieh, Montbeliarde, ProCross (Holstein x Montbeliarde x Viking Red), North American Red ( breed developed in North America that is any of the Ayrshire breeds, Viking Red, Norwegian Red ) and the Viking Reds and Norwegian Reds.

To many dairyman their thought is if a cow is not a black and white Holstein then it is not a dairy cow. With these "non-traditional" breeds, they offer advantages. Health cost with the crossbreds are lower, they have better fertility and breed back sooner, and many of these crosses can milk with their Holstein herdmates. One member had looked at his own herd in a year that he had an equal number of Holstein heifers to crossbred heifers born, which was 50 head of each. At the time he looked at how they turned out there was only one Holstein cow still in the herd compared to nine of the crossbred animals.

With the ProCross being a continual rotational cross of Holstein x Montbeliarde x Viking Red, seems to be the most popular cross in the dairy industry. The University of Minnesota even was involved in a research study of the crosses vs Holstein. It shows the crosses to be more profitable, about 4% lower in feed consumption, better fertility, and fewer of the crossbreeds left the herd compared to the Holstein.

The popularity of the Fleckvieh is especially in the grazing communities. One breeder sells over 50 bulls a year that go to herds that graze. with the Fleckvieh they hold up production better along with all the other advantages.

We have a member in Iowa with a purebred herd of Montbeliarde that his production with his herd is right with or better that some of the Holstein herds.

Many traditional herds have had a cull rate above 40% and barely able to have enough replacements, when they started crossbreeding and those animals came into production their cull rate has dropped to less than 20% and they have a surplus of heifers.

We have registered ProCross cows that embryo's have been exported to other countries. We have had Montbeliarde bulls born in the US that semen has been exported to Europe and other foreign countries. Coopex in France has purchased a few of these bulls and we have transferred the registration papers to them.

We have a member in the UK that has exported semen on his Scandinavian Red (same as our North American Red) to the US, Australia and a few other countries.

We have Fleckvieh member that has had a bull in a bull stud and semen was exported on that bull to the Netherlands. He has now started his own bull stud here in the US with his own bulls. AmeriFLECK Dairy Genetics

Creative Genetics of California was the birthplace of the ProCross over 20 years ago. The ProCross system is now used in many countries around the World.

Look at how long crossbreeding has been done in the beef herds. These days, dairy producers have discovered the benefits and advantages of crossbreeding.
 

Till-Hill

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I am herdsman at 170 cow milking dairy. When I was in college I bought pair of Jersey bulls to breed group of Holstein heifers. I also started cross breeding hard breeders with Jersey, Ayshire, Montibilare, Norweigan Red, Milking Shorthorns and some Swiss. Always bred F1's to a different breed. So it started 18 years ago or so. At first the F1 crosses out performed the Holsteins in production and reproduction.

Now Holstein herd is 137 cows at 41.4 months old with 24,252 Milk, 1021 Fat, 759 Protein.

Crossbred herd (I've been selling them as fast as possible)
39 cows at 37.9 months old 21,210 milk, 943 Fat, 701 Protein.

I will say tho our crossbreds are smaller and in theory eat less. We are in sand bedded freestalls and a parallel parlor. Most of the crossbreds are being bred beef now.

If I could do it all over again I would cross breed Holsteins and get an F1 and breed all F1's beef. But F1's are sometimes small, sometimes huge. Sometimes hard breeders some times not.
 

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