Fleckvieh x Holstein as an example for breeding cattle
Balanced, productive and efficient dual purpose cattle suitable for the production of milk, beef and by-products, that can be kept in all production systems of the world. The principle is to use a sire of the Fleckvieh breed – original Simmental and in 1830 Fleckvieh formed its own breed with out crossings of Red Holstein and Montbiliarde cattle. These out crossings are used with small percentages in order to keep the dual purpose nature of the ideal Fleckvieh animal going. See more at www.fleckvieh.de
So how does a crossing program Fleckvieh x Holstein work?
The F1 (first filial) generation is when the farm`s goal is to make the following changes:
- Improvement of substance and muscling of the dairy cows
- Improvement of conformation
- Improvement of fitness
- Improvement of of the quality of the calves (fattening ability) and of cow type
- Improvement of milk protein content
- Reduction of mastitis and somatic cell count
In order to reach good results in the F1-generation the Fleckvieh sire has to meet the following demands:
- Good breeding values but not too high milk values
- Good breeding values for classification of the carcass
Selected bulls might show negative figures for frame, but no compromises should be made as far as muscling, conformation and udder are concerned. More detail can be seen wen you enter a bull`s name in the “Search” of www.fleckvieh.de.
The goal to breed a balanced F1 crossed animal that has a maximum amount of heterosis, brings about the predisposition for good growth and makes the first 100 days of the lactation without melting too much of the body substance, since the cow has to become pregnant again soon in order to meet the demand of one calf per year.
Advantages of the F1 generation
- Exploitation of the heteorsis effects, that express particularly in fitness traits
- Excellent production and low somatic cell counts
- Longevity and excellent health
- Good fattening abilities of the crossed calves
The mating programme for the production of the F2, F3 and F4-generation Fleckvieh x Holstein
The F1 generation cow should be judged according to the following criteria:
- Does the crossbred cow have enough muscling?
- Do type traits and udder meet the demands?
- Which traits (type traits, performance) have to be improved?
In the case the F1 cows don’t show enough substance and muscling, again a bull from the F1 generation programme should be used.
In general we recommend bulls from the upper third of the population of the Fleckvieh breed to produce the F2 generation. In this step the milk production is of great importance.
Fleckvieh can be used for all crossing steps of absorption crossing.
Breeding bull selection – types of cows that result
Bavarian Fleckvieh Genetics/Bayern Genetik purchases genomically tested breeding bulls each year at local livestock auctions or directly out of the farmer`s barns. They select their bulls from a population of 750.000 Fleckvieh herdbook cows in Bavaria. These are Fleckvieh animals – originally Simmental but Fleckvieh formed it`s own breed back in 1830.
Many of these young breeding bull sires (candidates) come out of so called planned matings, which means especially selected siredams were mated to the best Fleckvieh sires available. The expected results in their progeny which becomes evident over time is listed in a ranking.
The other bulls come out of regular but promising matings with herdbook cows. They also purchase breeding sires from other countries like Austria, the Czech Republic, Australia and South Africa. This secures a large gene pool with bloodlines being maintained and a very low inbreeding coefficient. Also cow families and bloodlines are important for decision making. Bayern Genetik (www.fleckvieh.de) wants to offer genetics that proves its worth in the long term in all different kinds of production systems and climates.
When buying bulls, they focus on production and fitness traits. However, great importance is also attached to the type traits of a bull. Bavarian Fleckvieh Genetics/Bayern Genetik believes in dual purpose and therefore it is crucial how a bull looks.
At the end of the day, the target is to have more proven sires to pick form that match the needs of the particular farming operation.