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ProCROSS and Grazecross calves compared with Holstein calves for calving traits in a low-input dairy herd.

G. M. Pereira

Events

06-24-2020

Abstract:

330
ProCROSS and Grazecross calves compared with Holstein calves for calving traits in a low-input dairy herd.
G. M. Pereira*1,2, L. B. Hansen1, B. J. Heins2,1. 1University of Minnesota St. Paul, MN, 2West-Central Research and Outreach Center Morris, MN.

ProCROSS crossbred calves (n = 922) composed of the Montb�liarde, Viking Red, and Holstein (HO) breeds and Grazecross crossbred calves (n = 401) composed of the Normande, Jersey, and Viking Red breeds were compared with HO calves (n = 476) for gestation length (GL), calf weight at birth (CW), stillbirth (SB), and calving ease (CE). Calves were born at the University of Minnesota low-input dairy herd in Morris from January 2009 to December 2019. Twin births were removed. Independent variables for statistical analysis of all traits were the fixed effects of sex of calf, breed group of calf, year-season, 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 breed group of calf. Primiparous (n = 737) and multiparous (n = 1,062) calvings were analyzed separately. ProCROSS calves had longer (P < 0.01) GL (280.9 d) than HO calves (277.8 d) but similar GL to Grazecross calves (280.9 d) from primiparous dams. The CW was higher (P < 0.01) for ProCROSS calves (39.7 kg) compared with HO calves (38.4 kg) and Grazecross calves (34.4 kg) from primiparous dams. The SB and CE (1 to 5 scale) were not different for ProCROSS, Grazecross, and HO calves from primiparous dams. ProCROSS calves had similar GL to Grazecross calves (282.0 d and 282.1 d, respectively), but crossbred calves had longer GL (P < 0.01) compared with HO calves (279.4 d) from multiparous dams. ProCROSS calves had higher (P ≤ 0.01) CW (42.9 kg) compared with HO calves (41.9 kg) from multiparous dams. Additionally, ProCROSS and HO calves had higher (P < 0.01) CW than Grazecross calves (37.2 kg) from multiparous dams. The SB and CE were not different for ProCROSS, Grazecross, and HO calves from multiparous dams. Results indicate crossbred calves were similar to HO calves for CE and SB; however, crossbred calves had mean GL that was 2.9 d longer than HO calves. ProCROSS calves had mean CW that was 1.1 kg higher than HO calves. However, ProCROSS calves had mean CW that was 5.5 kg higher than Grazecross calves, and this was expected because some calves were sired by Jersey bulls.

Keywords: crossbreeding, calving trait, Normande.