Crossbred dairy cows drive up profit by €162/lactation

The first generation cross (F1) of a Holstein Friesian and a Jersey delivered €162/cow/lactation in additional profit, a Teagasc study involving 11,808 cows has found.

The study, carried out by Teagasc’s Emma-Louise Coffey and Brendan Horan, found that the profitability figure is €162 higher than the mid-parent average of both of the purebred parent breeds.

The extra profit arose from 25kg of extra milk solids/lactation and a 7.5 day reduction in calving interval.

Curtins follow-up

A follow-up experiment was carried out at Curtins Farm, investigating the productivity of these crossbred animals under a range of stocking rates (SR) and breed combinations.

The aim of the experiment was to identify interaction between farm SR and breed on measures of biological efficiency of spring-calving grazing systems.

The idea of the low SR was to allow the cow to show it’s true capabilities where grass intake was unrestricted.

The heavier SR was to investigate the potential response in performance/cow and performance/ha in relation to increased grazing intensity and grass utilisation.

Results

Milk solids (MS) yield/cow was greatest for a low SR and least for a high SR. In contrast to this, MS yield/ha was highest for the high SR and least for low SR.

The crossbred animal produced more MS per cow and per hectare than its Holstein Friesian parent.

The crossbred animal consumed 8% more feed/kg of bodyweight and produced 14% more MS/kg of bodyweight, compared to the Holstein Friesian parent.

There was no difference in overall pregnancy rate between the crossbred and its Holstein Friesian parent. The highest SR also resulted in the highest grass utilisation rates.

crossbred
Table 1: Biological performance of the Curtain’s herd (2013-2016)
Source: Teagasc

The results of this experiment highlight the benefits of an increased SR in terms of greater grass utilisation and MS production/ha.

Light was also shed on how high-EBI crossbred animals achieved superior milk production; feed efficiency; and fertility, compared to their Holstein Friesian counterparts.