Survival, lifetime production, and profitability of Normande × Holstein, Montbéliarde × Holstein, and Scandinavian Red × Holstein crossbreds versus pure Holsteins

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Abstract

Pure Holstein (HO) cows (n = 416) were compared with Normande (NO) × HO (n = 251), Montbéliarde (MO) × HO (n = 503), and Scandinavian Red (SR) × HO (n = 321) crossbred cows for survival, lifetime production, and profitability in 6 commercial herds in California. The SR crossbred cows were sired by both Swedish Red and Norwegian Red bulls. Cows calved from June 2002 to January 2009. For analysis of survival to subsequent calvings, lifetime production, and profitability, data were restricted to 3 of 6 herds because they had at least 20 cows in each of the breed groups. All cows had the opportunity to calve at least 4 times. Best prediction, which is used by USDA for national genetic evaluations in the United States, was used to determine lifetime production to 4 yr (1,461 d) in the herd after first calving from test-day observations. Production and survival were estimated after 4 yr to calculate lifetime profit. A profit function was defined to include revenues and expenses for milk, fat, protein, and other solids production; somatic cell count; reproduction; feed intake; calf value; salvage value; dead cow disposal; and fixed cost. The NO × HO (1.2%), MO × HO (2.0%), and SR × HO cows (1.6%) had significantly fewer deaths than did pure HO cows (5.3%) during the first 305 d of first lactation. All crossbred groups had significantly more cows that calved a second, third, and fourth time, and had mean survival that was 300 to 400 d longer than did pure HO cows. The NO × HO, MO × HO, and SR × HO cows had significantly higher lifetime fat plus protein production than did pure HO cows up to 1,461 d after first calving. For profitability (ignoring possible differences in health costs), NO × HO cows had 26% greater projected lifetime profit per cow, but 6.7% less profit per cow-day, than did pure HO cows. On the other hand, MO × HO and SR × HO cows had 50 to 44%, respectively, more projected lifetime profit per cow and 5.3 to 3.6%, respectively, more projected profit per cow-day than did pure HO cows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1011-1021
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume95
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2012

Keywords

  • Crossbreeding
  • Economics
  • Heterosis
  • Survival

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