Jersey x Holstein crossbred (JxH) cows (n = 24) were compared with pure Holstein cows (n = 17) for body weight, body condition score, dry matter intake (DMI), and feed efficiency during the first 150 d of first lacta-tion. Cows were housed in the University of Minnesota dairy facility at the St. Paul campus and calved from September 2004 to January 2005. The JxH cows were mated by artificial insemination with Montbeliarde bulls, and Holstein cows were mated by artificial insemination with Holstein bulls. Cows were weighed and body condition was scored every other week. Cows were individually fed a TMR twice daily, and feed refusals were measured once daily. The DMI of cows was measured daily and averaged across 7-d periods. Milk production and milk composition were from monthly Dairy Herd Improvement records. Best Prediction was used to calculate actual production (milk, fat, protein) for each cow from the 4th to 150th day of first lactation. The JxH cows had significantly less body weight (467 vs. 500 kg) and significantly higher body condition scores (2.90 vs. 2.76) than pure Holstein cows. The JxH cows had significantly less milk production (4,388 vs. 4,644 kg) during the 4th to 150th day of lactation than did pure Holstein cows. However, fat plus protein production during the first 150 d of lactation was not significantly different for JxH (302 kg) and Holstein (309 kg) cows. The JxH and pure Holstein cows did not differ significantly for daily DMI (22.0 vs. 22.7 kg, respectively), and the JxH (4.7%) and pure Holstein (4.5%) cows consumed similar DMI based on percentage of body weight. Consequently, feed efficiency for the 4th to 150th day of lactation did not differ for JxH and pure Holstein cows.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors express appreciation to John Cole at USDA-Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory (Beltsville, MD) for the use of the Best Prediction program. The authors also express gratitude to Bill Hansen and coworkers at the St. Paul dairy facility for their assistance in data collection and the care of animals. Funds for this research were provided by the American Jersey Cattle Club Research Foundation (Reynoldsburg, OH).
- Body condition score
- Body weight
- Feed efficiency