Are Dairy Crossbreds Harder to Calve?
Dairy producers who use crossbreeding often cite improved fertility, health, and longevity as their main reasons for doing so.
But how does calving crossbreds compare to full-blood Holsteins? A team of researchers at the University of Minnesota recently published a study in the Journal of Dairy Science that compared calving data from thousands of cows. Specifically, they examined gestation length, calf weight, calving difficulty, and stillbirth.
The study encompassed data spanning more than a decade from two University of Minnesota research facilities. Data from the larger herd (“Herd 1”) compared 1,121 Holsteins to 1,393 crossbred animals containing Montbeliarde, Viking Red, and Holstein (MVH) genetics. The second herd (“Herd 2”) compared 476 Holsteins to 922 MVH dams and 405 Normande-Jersey-Viking Red (NJV) crossbreds.
By MAUREEN HANSON
October 6, 2022