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ProCROSS calves compared with Holstein calves for calving traits in two research herds.

G. M. Pereira

Events

06-24-2020

Abstract:

329
ProCROSS calves compared with Holstein calves for calving traits in two research herds.
G. M. Pereira*1,2, L. B. Hansen1, B. J. Heins2,1. 1University of Minnesota Saint Paul, MN, 2West-Central Research and Outreach Center Morris, MN.

ProCROSS crossbred calves (n = 1,393) composed of the Montb�liarde, Viking Red, and Holstein (HO) breeds were compared with HO calves (n = 1,121) for gestation length (GL), calf weight at birth (CW), stillbirth (SB), and calving ease (CE). Calves were born in 2 research herds at the University of Minnesota, a high-input dairy at St. Paul (n = 1,116) and a low-input dairy at Morris (n = 1,398) from January 2009 to December 2019. Twin births were removed. Independent variables for statistical analysis of all traits were the fixed effects of herd, sex of calf, breed group of calf, year-season nested within herd, sire breed of calf nested within the interaction of sex of calf and breed group of calf, and the random effect of cow nested within the interaction of herd and breed group of calf. Primiparous and multiparous calvings were analyzed separately. ProCROSS calves had longer GL (P < 0.01) than Holstein calves of 278.4 d and 280.5 d, respectively, from primiparous dams. The CW was higher (P < 0.01) for ProCROSS calves (40.4 kg) compared with HO calves (39.4 kg) from primiparous dams. The SB and CE (1 to 5 scale) were not different for ProCROSS and HO calves from primiparous dams. ProCROSS calves had longer (P < 0.01) GL (281.3 d) compared with HO calves (279.3 d) from multiparous dams. ProCROSS calves had higher (P = 0.02) CW (44.2 kg) compared with HO calves (43.3 kg) from multiparous dams. The SB was not different for ProCROSS and HO calves (10%) from multiparous dams. Furthermore, CE was not different for ProCROSS and HO calves from multiparous dams. Results indicate ProCROSS calves were similar to HO calves for CE and SB; however, GL of ProCROSS calves was 2.1 d longer, and CW was 1.0 kg higher than HO calves. Longer GL or higher CW does not result in higher SB rates or higher CE.

Keywords: crossbreeding, low-input, calving trait.