Waldhoer – Bayern Genetik Sire

Waldhoer – Bayern Genetik Sire Feature

Here you see the bull “Waldhoer” available through Better Dairy Cow, official distributor Fleckvieh Semen Sales – Canada and United States.

He is showing outstanding progeny in North America as well as Europe. Very excellent for udder quality/attachments and medium size frame. He embodies the breeding goal of dual purpose Fleckvieh: The ideal cow with medium from, 1400 to 1600 lbs, longevity, 143 to 147 cm withers height, good milk components (he is also an A2A2 bull), one calf per year.

This is an easy calving bull that can be used in crossbreeding with goals of improving feet and legs as well as udder quality in the daughters.

  • Fleckvieh Bull Sire
  • Fleckvieh Simmental Bulls
  • Fleckvieh Cattle Breed

Why Fleckvieh Cows Have Longer Production Lives

When studying cattle life cycle, much like a horseman that looks at his horse and says: ”No feet , no horse” , a similar approach should be taken when looking at the life span of dairy cows:

In Veterinary practice and farm visits I have seen many cases of foot diseases that shorten dairy cow lifespan. A lot of problems are management related – for example this means there is poor hoof care or inadequate stalls for cows to lie down without injuring their feet and legs. Some of the problems are not at all management related but relate to the resistance to disease problems in the foot by way of “design”.

Develop Animals With Better Feet and Legs

Upright position rear foot dairy cow characteristicThe cows suffering from foot problems are suffering pain and discomfort. They lose milk production and are in need of Veterinary care. So not only does the farmer then have production losses, also there is now a need to spend time, money and resources on treatments. In some cases, the problems have advanced so far, that a culling decision is just around the corner. At that point – it is frequently not even possible to ship the animals to slaughter. Why? Because they may have been medicated and there is a withdrawal time for an antibiotic that has to be observed. If the animal gets shipped to slaughter, a long standing condition of pain in the feet and legs will have caused weight loss. In an already compromised state she may end up condemned at slaughter.
So how can a dairy cow have less foot problems? Outside of management, another option is to develop animals with better feet and legs.

Through the use of Fleckvieh genetics, the following benefits can be reaped:

  1. Inter digital ligament strength. What is this? Each of the claws has the ability to flex or move separately. This makes it possible to navigate rough terrain and also to spread the force over the claws while walking. The two claws are held together by a strong set of ligaments called inter digital ligaments. By design, the claws have to stay closely associated so these ligaments do not get overstressed and stretch or tear. Over time, a foot with weakened ligaments will change to accommodate the pressures of walking. What are these changes? A wider space between the claws, and a change in contact surface that is used for stepping. So the hoof wall which is designed to bear weight now slides away sideways and the hoof horn/center pad is used to bear weight and becomes subject to bruising, foot infections, abscess formation etc. Correction with trimming can only go so far after a while because the foot is still used the wrong way by the cow. In conclusion, a tight inter digital ligament with strong hoof walls make for longer lasting cows.
  2. Upright position of the pastern area. What is this? Looking at the feet of a mature dairy cow from the side, the goal is to have all the weight spread equally or throughout the whole foot. If however the angles are such that more weight is going to the heel or the back of the foot, more stress is put on the supporting tendons and this causes pain. The animal is going to lose condition and production. Additionally, she may require treatment of infections, sole bruises etc.

Largely – much like in the horse, these things are genetic. A good way to make improvements in production life cycle is to select against these poor foot structures with the mating selection decisions. Fleckvieh animals have very robust feet and can stand up to stresses of modern production longer than many dairy type breeds.

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.