Health treatment cost, stillbirth, survival, and conformation of Viking Red-, Montbéliarde-, and Holstein-sired crossbred cows compared with pure Holstein cows during their first 3 lactations

A. R. Hazel, B. J. Heins, L. B. Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Three generations of crossbreds from a 3-breed rotation of the Viking Red (VR), Montbéliarde (MO), and Holstein (HO) breeds were compared with their HO herdmates in 7 commercial dairy herds in Minnesota. The designed study enrolled 3,550 HO females in 2008 to initiate crossbreeding and a control of pure HO herdmates within each herd. Service sires were high-ranking, proven AI bulls selected for high genetic merit within each of the VR, MO, and HO breeds. Cows in this study calved from 2010 to 2017 and collection of data ended on December 31, 2017. The first generation of cows consisted of 644 VR × HO and 616 MO × HO crossbreds and their 1,405 HO herdmates. The second generation had 615 VR × MO/HO and 568 MO × VR/HO crossbreds and their 1,462 HO herdmates. The third generation had 466 combined HO × VR/MO/HO and HO × MO/VR/HO crossbreds and their 736 HO herdmates. Total health cost was the sum of veterinary treatment cost, pharmaceutical cost, and farm labor cost to treat 16 different health disorders. Conformation traits and body condition score were subjectively scored once during early lactation for each of the first 3 lactations of cows. Total health cost of the 2-breed crossbreds was significantly lower during first (−23%), second (−29%), and third (−21%) lactation compared with their HO herdmates. For the 3-breed crossbreds, total health cost did not differ during first lactation but was −26% lower during both second and third lactation compared with their HO herdmates. The stillbirth rate for calves born to 2-breed crossbred dams (4%) was significantly lower compared with calves born to their HO herdmates (8%) at first calving. Survival from first to third calving (+9%) and first to fourth calving (+11%) was significantly higher for the 2-breed crossbreds compared with their HO herdmates. Also, the 3-breed crossbreds had significantly higher survival to third (+11%) and fourth (+19%) calving compared with their HO herdmates. Across each generation of crossbreeding, the crossbreds had uniformly shorter stature, less angularity, and less body depth compared with their respective HO herdmates. The crossbred cows also had significantly less udder clearance from the hock but significantly more rear teat width and longer teat length compared with their respective HO herdmates. Furthermore, the crossbred cows had higher body condition score compared with their HO herdmates during each of their first 3 lactations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10917-10939
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume103
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We express gratitude to the dairy producers, managers, and employees of the 7 dairies for their participation in this study and for providing data on the cows in their herds. We also thank Minnesota Select Sires Co-op Inc. for its contributions of mating individual heifers and cows with AI bulls and scoring of the conformation traits. Finally, we thank M. R. Donnelly (University of Minnesota, St. Paul) for provision of the health treatment costs. 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. (St. Cloud, MN). The authors have not stated any conflicts of interest.

Funding Information:
We express gratitude to the dairy producers, managers, and employees of the 7 dairies for their participation in this study and for providing data on the cows in their herds. We also thank Minnesota Select Sires Co-op Inc. for its contributions of mating individual heifers and cows with AI bulls and scoring of the conformation traits. Finally, we thank M. R. Donnelly (University of Minnesota, St. Paul) for provision of the health treatment costs. Funding for this study was provided by Coopex Montb?liarde (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. (St. Cloud, MN). The authors have not stated any conflicts of interest.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Dairy Science Association

Copyright:
Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Montbéliarde
  • Viking Red
  • crossbreeding
  • total health cost

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