VikingNews Global 2-2019 FINAL - Page 13



ProCROSS 10-year study
by University of Minnesota
reveals high level of profitability
The world’s longest running study comparing crossbred dairy cows with purebred Holsteins
delivered its final conclusions this summer. The study by the University of Minnesota in the
United States has demonstrated that ProCROSS cattle deliver a lifetime profit 33% greater
than pure Holstein; while daily profits are, on average, 9-13% higher.
T
he financial advantage
and 2,000 Holstein cattle in
of the ProCROSS was
seven herds. These were
demonstrated to come
high-performance, commerfrom a range of factors
cial herds in which animals
including greater lifetime
had the opportunity to exproduction of fat plus protein
press their genetic potential.
solids, better fertility, fewer
For each of the three breeds,
health treatments, higher calf
semen was used from
and cull values and improved
high-ranking proven bulls,
rates of survival.
corrective breeding was
When production of fat
carried out for conformation,
plus protein was converted
and matings were protected
on a daily basis, the crossagainst inbreeding. Average
bred cattle produced beproduction (December 2017)
tween 1% more for the twoacross the herds was 13,587
breed crossbreds (VikingRed
kg milk, 512 kg fat and 426 kg
× Holstein and Montbeliarde ×
protein, and each herd surHolstein) and 1% less for the
passed standard benchmarks
three-breed crossbreds, than
for the fertility expected of
their Holstein herd mates.
Holsteins.
Fewer cases of mastitis and metabolic diseases, plus lower feed costs.
However, the substantial
Professor Les Hansen,
difference in crossbreed financial perforare explained by almost twice the rate
who led the research, with the particimance stemmed from lower production
of survival to fourth lactation (41%)
pation of Dr Amy Hazel and Professor
costs. The savings came from significantcompared to Holsteins (22%).
Bradley Heins, presented the findings
ly lower reproductive costs (e.g. improved
Once all income (including milk quality
to journalists and dairymen from 11
conception rate to first service by up to
penalties) and costs of production were
European countries in July. “The genetic
8.7%, and up to 17 fewer days open), up to
considered, the three-breed cross deliveffects contributed by each breed are
23% lower health costs at the beginning
ered an average additional profit of 9%
complementary, each conferring attribof the system and 17% for the three-way
per day higher than Holsteins.
utes which balance another,” he said.
system. (This is mainly attributable to
The trial, which was performed by
“For example, Holsteins bring producfewer cases of mastitis and metabolic
researchers at the University of Minnetion and udder traits; Montbeliardes
diseases, plus lower feed costs during
sota, was the first to assess the benefits
brings fertility, body condition and
both lactation and dry periods).
of crossbreeding on such a scale and
strength; and VikingReds – itself an
However, the greatest single
through such a highly structured breedamalgam of the Swedish Red, Finnish
contributor to the lower costs for
ing programme. Running over the
Ayrshire and Danish Red breeding
ProCROSS cattle came through their
course of 10 years, it has involved the
programmes – bring calving traits,
lower replacement costs. These, in turn,
participation of around 2,300 ProCROSS
udder health and fertility.”
November 2019 | vikingnews
13

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