Started as a trend, there is now a permanent herd of breeders who use three way crosses to get a more stable cow. It is expected that the three-way crossroads will increase as the resulting self-sufficient cows fit well into the changing dairy landscape.
The three-way cross, a mixture of three cow breeds, came into effect fifteen years ago. Although it was dismissed as exaggerated at the time, the three-way encounter turned out to be a keeper.
“A few years after its introduction, 11 to 12 percent of all embryos are foreign species,” Hans Kerkoff of Xsires looks back. ‘With the introduction of phosphate allocation, growth stopped for a while. The trend in those days was to milk a cow as much as possible.
‘There has been a turning point in recent years. Due to the greater focus on consistency, a little less milk is produced per cow. Considering the future of the dairy, I think we are moving more and more towards a kind of dual purpose cow. This is possible at three-way intersections. So we see an increase in dairy farmers using it. ‘
‘There is no point in going across to solve the management problem’
John Hidding, breeding consultant at Cool & Liberects, expects dairy farmers to look at another cow in the future. Getting protein from one’s home country is very important as climate goals are set. Then you have to raise a cow that can handle it. No Holsteins, but three-way crosses. ‘
According to Cool & Liberects’ Progress, Viking Holstein is associated with Montpelier and Viking Red. ‘The health and longevity of cows is increasing. Feed performance is very good. With climate change, it’s increasingly becoming superficial, ‘says Hitting. A growing group of breeders using Progress is growing. ‘Research in the United States shows this in high-yielding farms as well. We have companies that have been doing business for ten years. As you can see by now, CRV has three Progress companies in the top 15.
Good to manage
In CRV, they do not really see the growing group of dairy farmers using crossbreeding. ‘About 15 to 20 per cent of our breeders breed with species other than Holstein, not counting the Belgian white blue. The crossing team continues to pass, “said Justin Klein Herenbring, chairman of Global Product Management.
‘The effect of heterosis, for example, is to improve fertility and stability, the main motivation for overcoming,’ Klein Herenbring continues. ‘There are some differences in categories. Fleckvieh, MRIJ and Brown Swiss are the most popular, followed by Jersey a little further away. ‘
According to Klein Herenbring, farmers who use the three-way crossroads generally spend less time breeding. ‘They want a cow that is easy to manage. Company size has little to do with that. ‘
Klein Herenbring did not see the fact that the three-way crossbred cow would perform better on the farm tomorrow. ‘Not all companies can be merged together. There will also be farms where high yielding cows are suitable in the future. What you see in any breeding system is the goal of producing more efficient cows. Reducing the carbon footprint is becoming as important as the labor factor. Above all, we need a cow that is easy to manage. ‘
Certainly not half
‘Some of the ranchers have found a better system that goes three ways. But I do not see that percentage growing to 50 percent in the future, says CRV’er.
‘There is no point in going overboard to solve an administrative problem,’ says Hitting. ‘But it makes sense to go beyond improving the fertility of highly productive cows that have trouble conceiving. Crossing can also improve the health of the fold. After all, the heterosis effect is twice as 100 percent for three-way crossings. You really encourage the health of your flock. All three way crosses keep you from breeding, which is the problem of the current Holstein herd.
Each species has its pluses and minuses, and each farmer and each company is different, filling Hans Kerkoff At. ‘We advise what is suitable for farmers because there are different options that lead to the most suitable cow.
Reproduction is a quest
At De Marque, an agricultural innovation center, people are always looking for a stable cow that fits well with the round farm. In 2012, three-way intersections were launched. “We wanted to go to the cows that could milk us rudely, which is why we crossed half of our Holsteins,” says manager Sweer van de Vecte. Robots have struggled to connect with old crossbred cows, and our analysis shows that bulls, not the breeds you use in breeding, make the difference, so we’re now mainly looking at the standard Holstein bulls that have proven themselves. Breeding is always a quest. ‘
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