10 Benefits of Fleckvieh

#1. Flat lactation curves.

The benefit here is that the stress on the udder is less. This adds to longevity since the udder does not become subject to damage from the high volume of milk produced in the early lactation. Early spikes in milk production and then a drop off as seen traditionally creates more of a demand for a precise feeding regime to avoid metabolic diseases such as ketosis also.

#2. Milk and beef of high quality.

High component milk along with good quality beef nets more income for the producer. Slaughter results from steers that were placed into feedlot yield high. They finish out at 18 to 22 months of age comparable to a beef only breed.

#3. Higher calf prices.

In Europe and North America higher prices for calves are common place due to better health and growth rates. Steer calves can enter a feedlot and create another income stream for growers. Because the cows produce more calves (based on improved longevity) , replacement heifers can be sold also.

#4. Lower somatic cell counts.

One of the great benefits in crossbreeding and absorption crossing is the benefit of reduced somatic cell counts. Positive changes can be made with crossbreeding to reduce the impact of elevated somatic cell counts.

#5. Milk components.

Consistently, crossbreeding results in better components. Increases of 0.2 to 0.4 are seen in both butter fat and protein levels.

#6. Excellent fertility.

Reductions in numbers of inseminations required to reach pregnancy are seen. This leads to a reduction in workload, easier breeding management, reduced intercalving periods and improved overall reproductive efficiency.

#7. Long production life.

Due to better conformation – by way of stronger feet and legs and greater tolerance to production of milk with the resource of more muscle mass and a stronger skeleton these animals can live longer healthy lives. A thicker skin literally provides more tolerance to weather conditions whether it is cold or hot weather. In hot weather – better circulation actually keeps the body temperature 1 to 2 C lower than traditionally thinner skinned “dairy type” cows.

#8. Less replacement costs.

If each lactating cow can produce four calves in her life or more as in many cases, she can replace herself and there is no need to purchase replacement animals. The benefit is that the farmer can keep a closed herd which reduces cost, and potential introduction of disease from purchased animals. Furthermore, targeted breeding and genetic plans can be made to create the best herd for the particular farm.

#9. Less LDA.

Overall incidence rates of distended abomasum decrease since the animals can tolerate the impact of calving and milk production better than traditional “dairy type” breeds. This cuts our veterinary visits, postsurgical care and reduced performance.

#10. Strong “easy handling” cows.

The breed FV is known for gentle easy handling animals that have a mind mainly to eat and produce.

Why Fleckvieh bull calves can become more than a by-product

Excerpt of Fleckvieh world – www.fleckvieh.de and www.betterdairycow.com experiences:IMG_0660

For Fleckvieh farmers in Bavaria it is the most normal thing on earth to produce quality beef via slaughter cull cows or bull calves out of dairy farms.  Holstein farmers who focus on milk production only and who regard bull calves as an unwelcome by-product have to rethink their economic strategies when they start to work with Fleckvieh. This process is rewarded very soon through the fact that a higher income can be realized through the selling of bull calves for feedlot use.

The strict separation between milk- and beef production – as it is common in many countries – is unusual for Fleckvieh dairy farms. In the future – with increasing human population growth, a quality product bull calf will be derived from many dairy farms across the world. The Fleckvieh-cow or the Fleckvieh x Holstein crossing cow with its outstanding carcass qualities offers a new source of income since well grading carcasses result from slaughter animals.  With the  following example of a Fleckvieh bull calf rearing process, you can see first hand in this description what a Bavarian Fleckvieh calf can do for the farmer.

1st phase of a bulls life:

Birth of the calf : After it was fed colostrum within 2 hours after calving the newborn calf is put into a box on a straw bedding and marked with two ear tags. It remains for about 14 days in that box. 85 kg. When they reach this weight about 50% of the bull calves are sold at the auction places owned by the breeding associations. These quality calves are bought either by farmers who are specialized on the production of weaners out of dairy farms or by feedlot operators/finishers. The Fleckvieh breeding associations sell about 1.000 bull calves a week to everywhere in Germany and the adjacent countries. Based on pricing, weaner calves form dairy farms are highly regarded by feedlot operators/finishers.

2nd phase of a bulls life:

Production of a weaned bull calf: The weaning of the bull calves from milk or milk substitute is done in farms that are specialized on weaning or directly on the fattening farms. To adapt the calves to  ruminant appropriate feed and with this to an intensive further fattening, demands a lot of expertise, one reason more to hire specialized farms for this.

fattening-bulls

3rd phase of a bulls life:

Bull fattening has a long tradition in Bavaria and is the main way of producing beef in Bavaria. Fattening steers is not very common, since the use of hormones to improve the fattening process is not allowed in Germany and thus there is no use in castrating bull calves. From 11 to 13 months the fattening bulls are fed a high energy ration (corn silage) till they have a lifeweight of 700 – 750 kg. The carcass should have a weight of 380 – 400 kg. The classification of the carcasses is done by independent experts after the EU carcass grade system (EUROP). Two thirds of the Fleckvieh-carcasses reach the desired E and U carcass grades, which guarantee a better payment. 89% of all bulls slaughtered in Germany are fullblood Fleckvieh bulls. All slaughter dates are noted down in the slaughter house and later used for the estimation of the breeding values. There is no other breed worldwide that has so many data from beef production as Bavarian Fleckvieh.

hanging-beef

The Bavarian system to produce beef from Fleckvieh bull calves out of dairy production guarantees highest beef qualities. This helps to improve the economical effectiveness of dairy farms which means a higher income for them. Even for F1-crossing calves Fleckvieh x Holstein good prices are paid and give a first feeling of success to the farmers that switch from Holstein to Fleckvieh. Calves sired by Fleckvieh bulls are quality products in demand and not a low regarded waste product of dairy farms. Fleckvieh – born to be economic and to gain the confidence of the consumer.

Many farms in North America have seen the same benefits. A large lot of Fleckvieh cross calves were fed to a finish weight between 1800 to 2200 lbs on one farm in Southern Manitoba. The animals were sent to slaughter and carcass yields of 55% to 58 %. This made the enterprise of feeding a worthwhile one for this dairy farm. The author has seen many cull slaughter Fleckvieh cross cows that were sent to the packing house in the United Sates straight South of their Manitoba farms of origin. Again their slaughter yields are a phenomenal 55% to as high as 63%. Compared to the average cull Holstein cow at 37% one can immediately see the difference.