Three generations of crossbred cows from a 3-breed rotation of the Viking Red (VR), Montbéliarde (MO), and Holstein (HO) breeds were compared with HO herdmates in 7 high-performance, commercial dairy herds in Minnesota. The designed study was initiated in 2008 with the enrollment of 3,550 HO females. Sires of cows were proven artificial insemination bulls and were high-ranking for genetic merit within each of the VR, MO, and HO breeds. The first generation of cows calved a first time from 2010 to 2017 and consisted of 644 VR × HO and 616 MO × HO 2-breed crossbreds and their 1,405 HO herdmates. The second generation calved a first time from 2012 to 2017 and consisted of 615 VR × MO/HO and 568 MO × VR/HO crossbreds and their 1,462 HO herdmates. The third generation calved a first time from 2014 to 2017 and was composed of 466 HO × VR/MO/HO and HO × MO/VR/HO crossbreds combined and their 736 HO herdmates. Collection of data ceased on December 31, 2017, and for the duration of study, many of the 2-breed and 3-breed crossbreds and their HO herdmates had the opportunity to complete at least 3 lactations, whereas the HO-sired crossbreds and their HO herdmates had the opportunity to complete 1 lactation. The 305-d actual (not mature equivalent) production of milk, fat, and protein was estimated from test-day observations with best prediction and cows with <305 DIM were projected to 305 d. The 2-breed and 3-breed crossbred cows had superiority over their HO herdmates for all of the fertility traits measured. The 2-breed crossbreds had −9, −17, and −15 d fewer days open than their HO herdmates during first, second, and third lactation, respectively. Also, the 3-breed crossbreds had −15, −19, and −20 d fewer days open than their HO herdmates during first, second, and third lactation, respectively. Cows in these herds had young ages at first calving of 22 to 23 mo across the breed groups, and the 3-breed crossbreds had significantly younger ages at first, second, and third calving than their HO herdmates. The 2-breed crossbreds had +2% higher fat plus protein production (kg) during first lactation, but did not differ during second and third lactation, from their HO herdmates. The 3-breed crossbreds had −3% to −4% lower fat plus protein production (kg) than their HO herdmates in each of their first 3 lactations. During first lactation, the HO-sired crossbreds did not differ for fat plus protein production (kg) from their HO herdmates.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors express gratitude to the dairy producers and managers of the 7 dairy herds for their participation in this study and for providing data on the cows in their herds. The authors also thank Minnesota Select Sires Co-op Inc. (St. Cloud, MN) for its contributions of mating individual heifers and cows with AI bulls. Funding for this study was provided by Coopex Montbéliarde (Roulans, France), Viking Genetics (Randers, Denmark), Creative Genetics of California (Oakdale, CA), Select Sires, Inc. (Plain City, OH), and Minnesota Select Sires Co-op Inc. The authors have not stated any conflicts of interest.
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- Viking Red
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article