Montbéliarde (MO)-sired crossbred cows (n=57) were compared with pure Holstein (HO) cows (n=40) for dry matter intake (DMI), production, hip height, body condition score (BCS), and body weight (BW) during the first 150 d of first lactation. Also, production for 305 d was compared for first lactation. The MO-sired crossbred cows were composed of MO × HO cows (n=33) and MO × Jersey/HO cows (n=24). Cows were individually fed a total mixed ration twice daily. The DMI was measured for the first 150 d of lactation, except from d 1 to 3 postpartum to permit cows to acclimate to stalls in a confinement barn. Hip height was measured once between 20 and 172 d postpartum, and BCS and BW were recorded every other week. The MO-sired crossbred cows did not differ from the pure HO cows for 150-d DMI, 150-d fat plus protein production, or for 305-d fat plus protein production. Hip height was similar for MO × HO and pure HO cows, but MO × Jersey/HO cows had shorter hip height than the pure HO cows. Despite the lack of difference for DMI, the MO-sired crossbred cows had significantly greater BCS (3.30 vs. 2.74) and BW (551 vs. 528. kg) than the pure HO cows. The MO-sired crossbred cows (122 d) had fewer days open than the pure HO cows (150 d). The higher BCS of the MO-sired crossbred cows, especially during early lactation, may have provided an advantage for fertility. Differences for DMI between breed groups were not studied for the latter half of first lactation or for multiparous cows.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors express gratitude to Bill Hansen and co-workers at the St. Paul (Minnesota) dairy facility for their assistance in data collection and care of animals. Supplemental funding for this project was provided by Coopex Montbéliarde (Roulans, France).
- Dry matter intake