As the title suggests, it has become increasingly hard to find a pure Holstein cow in my herd. Since the last one was born on my farm back in 2007, numbers have dwindled down to just 12 individuals remaining.
I’ll be honest, when last one exits, i won’t shed any tears. I have never had any regrets crossbreeding. On the positive side, a Holstein herd provides a good base breed from which to crossbreed from.
Below are pictured the surviving cows plus sire details. In theory these should be some of my better Holsteins judging by the fact they have stuck around so long.
One other thing I want to mention is that this is my 50th post on the Crossbreeding blog. Thanks to Jon for allowing me contribute my bit. I never imagined there could be so much to say on such a small niche subject!
- We’ve been suffering through our coldest winter in decades. For Wisconsin that is pretty cold. Picture taking of cows has been scarce the past few months but I did manage to snap this picture of a Normande (Redondo) X Viking Red (B Jurist) X Holstein first calf heifer. I watch this one with interest because the dam is one of my better old B Jurist daughters and Redondo is a bull I’ve praised in the past but have not actually milked that many daughters.
- New French proofs were released recently. Crasat remains atop the ISU rankings. I’d be interested to hear observations on his daughter’s ability to calve as when it was brought up as a concern by some on this blog it was at 86 and has now declined to 83. There was a base change this run so that should be kept into consideration. Interesting to me was Ugostar, a bull that actually went up with the base change. Ugostar is the top net merit Montbeliarde bull on the USA Holstein base.
- Genex Cooperative and Jura-Betail have partnered together to bring some Montbeliarde bulls to the United States. Headlining the three bulls that Genex will initially market is 2011 Bull of the Year Valfin. Valfin now has 550 daughters milking in France and maintains his spot among the top ISU Montbeliarde bulls. My Genex representative was able to see Valfin daughters firsthand in my heifer shed. I’m very excited for these to calve in the second half of this year and now he is back into service in my herd as a sire once again. The full Genex Montbeliarde offering can be found here. Accelerated Genetics also has an updated flyer with their Normande and Montbeliarde choices.
- New on the Creative Genetics Viking Red price list are some genomic young sires. There are some very interesting pedigrees on these and they are priced lower than the proven bulls. Also new and intriguing to their proven price list is Game, a Gunnarstorp X St Hallebo. I’m just now getting into Pell-Pers and added a cane of Cigar to the tank. Foske remains a mainstay in the rotation
- With Geno Global’s release of new proofs recently, they’ve expressed confidence in Tangvoll being a bull that will have an impact. Tangvoll is an Oygarden son and I’ve had a few Oygarden’s calve in recently and they are both near the top for production among my two year olds. Interestingly, I got my Oygarden semen from when Semex unloaded their excess inventory on me after Geno partnered with ABS.
- A few more to watch in Norway are Skjelvan and Eggtroen. Skjelvan is the new TMI leader by a fairly wide margin. Eggtroen has 274 daughters in Norway and I imagine that number will be going up soon as my first Eggtroen daughter is weeks from calving. I really like her frame, it’ll be interesting to see how her udder develops.
- I’ve sent my first 60 registrations into the Composite Dairy Cattle Registry. I see some nice potential with this Registry for information gathering purposes on crossbred animals. Already, efforts have succeeded in getting the Milking Fleckvieh its own breed code (FL). CDCB has changed its databases to reflect this addition and currently efforts are being made for DHI processing centers to modify their databases. 57 Fleckvieh bulls have been added to the NAAB cross referencing program and soon CDCR will have a list for all of us with Fleckvieh sired animals to correct sire information on them. The Montbeliarde bulls that Genex are carrying are also being listed by CDCR. I’ve corrected my own Valfin daughters to his new NAAB code, 217MO1000. However we look at it, the work being done by CDCR is good news for those of us that want to see data collection on crossbreds expanded. I would encourage anybody that feels the same to at least correct any information on your own animals and look into getting some animals registered in the CDCR.
I figured I’d show a list of what the new additions to the herd will look like this year:
Gunnarstorp (VR) X Kourt (MS) X Temptor (HOL) – a different branch from 2459‘s family
Nordbo (NR) X Jacinto (JER) X Britt (HOL)
Plus (JER) X Bachelor (HOL)
Velsvik (NR) X Jerrick (JER) X Earl (HOL)
Crown (HOL) X O Brolin (VR) X Pollyden (HOL) X Brazo (JER) X Forbidden (HOL)
Gunnarstorp (VR) X Grandeur (HOL)
Gunnarstorp (VR) X TBone (JER) X Rudy (HOL)
Raastad (NR) X B Jurist (VR) X Jerrick (JER) X Winchester (HOL) – Red absorption from 1449’s family but she is still black!
Facet (VR) X Bret (HOL)
Vigor (BS) X Adam (HOL)
Braut (NR) X Nelson (HOL)
Urbaniste (MONT) X Jacinto (JER) X Holstein
Crown (HOL) X Celebrity (JER) X Peterslund (VR) X Kenneth (HOL)
Gunnarstorp (VR) X Juryman (HOL)
Harvest (JER) X Poker (AYR) X Myron (HOL)
Gunnarstorp (VR) X Ray (JER) X Molson (HOL)
Crown (HOL) X Safir (VR) X Paramount (JER) X Aaron (HOL)
Braut (NR) X Fairdeal (HOL)
Graybil (HOL) X B Jurist (VR) X Jacinto (JER) X Jersey X Holstein
Bosnes (NR) X Adam (HOL)
Gunnarstorp (VR) X Tempting (HOL)
Royal Treble (ILA) X Acclaim (BS) X Wade (HOL)
Million (HOL) X B Jurist (VR) X Action (JER) X Holstein
Nordbo (NR) X Peterslund (VR) X Talisman (HOL)
Raastad (NR) X Norski (HOL)
Freddie (HOL) X Action (JER) X Peterslund (VR) X Geno (HOL)
Nordbo (NR) X Ransom (BS) X Emerson (HOL)
Gunnarstorp (VR) X Cassino (HOL)
Bosnes (NR) X Jacinto (JER) X Jace (JER) X Holstein
Gunnarstorp (VR) X Diecast (HOL)
Eggtroen (NR) X Lynch (HOL) – excited for this one!
Ronningen (NR) X Kenneth (HOL)
Kolton (HOL) X O Brolin (VR) X Paramount (JER) X Forbidden (HOL)
Graybil (HOL) X Trump (HOL) X Oxalin (MONT) X Holstein
Crown (HOL) X Braut (NR) X Action (JER) X Aaron (HOL)
Gunnarstorp (VR) X Million (HOL)
Facet (VR) X Oran (MONT) X Mysterious (HOL) – 2076‘s daughter
Gunnarstorp (VR) X Vence (HOL)
Velsvik (NR) X Jonah (HOL)
Raastad (NR) X Talisman (HOL)
Crown (HOL) X Peterslund (VR) X Mecca (JER)
Caruso (HOL) X Peterslund (VR) X Jacinto (JER)
O Brolin (VR) X Ashlar (HOL)
Peterslund (VR) X Louie (JER) X Birdman (HOL)
Durable (HOL) X Peterslund (VR) X Paramount (JER)
O Brolin (VR) X Harvest (JER) X Potter (HOL)
B Jurist (VR) X TBone (JER) X Rocket (JER) X Holstein
Tomteby (VR) X Million (HOL) X O Brolin (VR) X Butler (JER) X Holstein
O Brolin (VR) X Zowie (HOL)
Jordan (HOL) X Ray (JER) X Peterslund (VR)
Crown (HOL) X Rocket (JER) X O Brolin (VR) X Holstein
- Starting to get a few more Gunnarstorp daughters in and I like them quite a bit. Very consistently good in the udder. Moderate to small in stature, and a good combination of strength. The ones that freshened several months ago are starting to pick up the pace production wise. There does seem to be more potential for getting the odd one that doesn’t milk that well. Good potential for lifetime profit in these.
- A Norwegian bull who’s daughters are impressing me at the moment is Velsvik. It’s a shame that you can’t get semen on him anymore because he’s a good one. In terms of type they are very similar to Gunnarstorp’s daughters. Short, strong with very nice udders. They are moderate for components but have excellent components.
- The first few Crown daughters are now fresh. Hindsight is 20/20 and Goldwyn blood is not for me but the first few Crown’s don’t have the tall, frail Goldwyn look. Having Jersey in there helps. Then again, the short and strong Million daughters of mine were more dud than stud. I feel Crown will be a step above Million but look forward to calving in some Iota daughters and in the more distant in the future, Supersire daughters.
I attended the Procross tour in Oakdale, California on February 14, 2014. I went to Oakdale for the 1st time in 2006 and I have been almost every year since. The satisfaction of the original Procross dairymen is as high as it has ever been. The tour is a great opportunity to meet other dairymen who crossbreed. Lance Johnson attended the tour for the 2nd year in a row, I also met Kevin Zart from Wisconsin who comments on the blog.
This is a Triomphe daughter from Hokestra dairy. I am just starting to have my first Triomphe calves hit the ground.
A Facet daughter from Prins dairy. I am milking about 15 Facet daughters, they have very good udders but are light on production.
Ulemo daughter from Hokestra dairy fresh about 3 weeks. I believe Ulemo is a maternal brother of Triomphe.
Urocher daughter at Hokestra dairy. I am milking 50 daughters from Urocher with the oldest daughters early in 2nd lactation. The udders are consistently very good with solid production.
Ugostar daughter at Hokestra dairy. I have not used any Ugostar but I am tempted after seeing his daughters the past 2 years. I just struggle with his -.17 Fat%.
The other day I was messing around and I entered my name into a Google Search. After a few pages I was surprised to see that in August 2013, I had a registered crossbred with the Red and White Dairy Cattle Association listed on the elite cow list. That list includes genomic heifers so I decided to go to the CDCB site and see their Elite Cow list for registered Red and Whites. According to that list, 2459 is the fifth highest NM$ registered Red and White in the United States.
She comes from a line of cows that goes back to my childhood. In fact the beginning of her pedigree is an old Blackstar that was my brother’s cow. Her sire stack goes like this:
This is an example of resurrecting a good old cow family that had lost it’s way. The Blackstar and the Abe were great cows. The Temptor was a good cow until she fell dead of a heart attack. The Forbidden was a nightmare to get pregnant. The Peterslund was probably the worst of the bunch as she didn’t milk or breed back easily. So finally we did the right thing and got some Montbeliarde into the family.
Here is a link to her ‘proof’.
One thing to note is that because she is not genomic tested, the reliability of this cow’s proof is much lower than the others. So how has she actually performed?
|Days Milked||Total Milk||Total Fat||Total Protein||Days Open||Times Bred||EC 305d Milk|
I’d say her performance pretty well confirms that she is a very profitable cow. Today she was confirmed pregnant to Supersire.
In terms of offspring, 2459 has three daughters, one milking. The one milking is sired by Holstein but I’m not sure exactly who it is as the breeding book got eaten at the heifer grower’s farm that she was at. My best guess would be Graybil because the other likely option would have been Million. Given that she is a little taller than the average heifer and got pregnant on the first service I’d say she’s not a Million. The other two daughters are from AltaIota. I’m reasonably excited to see how those cows do but they will not be appearing on any Elite Red Cows list as they are not red.
One of the oft cited reasons for crossbreeding is increased an increase in herd life. When a person first starts crossbreeding it takes quite a while to see whether this is true or not. I decided to take a look back at a group of 100 cows from when we first started having a significant amount of crossbreds on the farm. This group of 100 cows was born between August 15, 2006 and February 21, 2007.
|#/Cows Born||Remaining #/Cows||% Survived 7 Years|
As you can see, only one Holstein has made it to seven years. Nine of the crossbreds made it to seven years. It is also interesting to note that this was my first group of Swedish Red crosses to enter the herd.
So who is left?
|ID||SID||GSIRE||Lifetime Milk Lbs||Lifetime Fat Lbs||Lifetime Protein Lbs|
There were only seven HoJos in the original group of 49 crossbreds. Two were Brown Swiss X Holstein, three were Montbeliarde X Holstein, two three-way crosses and a 75% Holstein 25% Milking Shorthorn.
The two HoJos are great cows. Among the Swedish Reds remaining, I think the B Jurist daughters have given me the most in terms of profitability though that Lars daughter is a fantastic cow too.
Regardless, the crossbreds in this group definitely showed a much better survival ability than the Holsteins. Even the Holstein that is left isn’t much better in terms of production to even the Peterslund with an Angus for a grandsire. There were certainly better production Holsteins in the group than the one that was left standing but they also didn’t stay in the herd all that long.
|Sire’s Breed||#/Cows||Milk/Day||ECM/Day||%Fat||%Protein||EC 305ME||Lact||DIM|
|Holstein X Jersey X Red||111||65||78||4.6||3.7||27309||1.7||191|
- Welcome to the new format of reporting my test results. Hopefully this format will be cleaner, easier to read and more informative. With the number of different combinations I milk, it’s become a drag to compile every month and the sample sizes for most of the combinations are meaningless.
- I didn’t forget about December. I’ve compiled some of those results and will use it when figuring the three year totals soon. But I was just too excited to switch over to this format that I didn’t feel like posting December. I’m not hiding anything either as December was one of our better tests.
- Another new figure is ECM 305ME which stands for Energy Corrected Milk 305 day Mature Equivalent. This will factor components into the mature equivalent figures putting everybody on equal footing. I’m not selling water, after all.
- In the combinations section of the table I’ll be putting production numbers from cows that have maintained a set rotation of breeds. ProCross are any animals that are a rotation of Viking Red, Montbeliarde and Holstein. What I haven’t decided is whether I should include other flavors of ProCross in this group that aren’t “true” ProCross.
- Another small sample warning as the ProCross production numbers look low but I have a Holstein sired ProCross dragging those numbers down (ECM 305ME is around 15000 on her).
- The Holstein-Jersey-Red combination is a compilation of anything that maintains a rotation of Holstein Jersey and whatever flavor of Red. Norwegian Reds, Swedish Red, Illawarra, Red Dane, Ayshire and eventually Aussie Red all will fall under this category when used in conjunction with Holstein and Jersey. Also some animals in this group will have two straight generations of Jersey before Red (Swedish Red X Jersey X Jersey X Holstein is an example).
- The Normande data is pretty meaningless at this point but I did want to include it as it will continue to grow this year.
- Overall we tested at 84 lbs ECM/day. Still a little on the low side but it’s going to take a new (and hopefully bountiful) harvest of alfalfa before I have the potential to get over 90 lbs ECM/day where I want to be.