How Fleckvieh Crossbreeding, Absorbtion Crossing and Three Way Crossing can assist your farms productivity

Fleckvieh is a dual purpose breed can assist your dairy farm’s productivity and fertility with crossbreeding, absorption crossing and three way crossing.

Dairy Breeding Management

Dairy cattle breeding management is in a situation of radical change and reorientation. The drive for profitability in the dairy business by making cows with a focus on milk production and quantity only has had a direct influence on nearly neglected but nevertheless very relevant traits of a dairy cow such as fitness, stable metabolism, fertility, health of the udder.

Working with the physiology and the frame work of rumination, a cow with more body muscling and higher condition scores and reserves will manage herself far better.

Fleckvieh Crossbreeding Dairy Farms

Dairy breeding (Holstein Friesen, Brown Swiss, Swedish Red, Jersey for example) focuses on milk and protein quantity with a strong emphasis on the dairy trait character, a fact that results in a cow that produces a large quantity of milk but not in an economically sensible way over more than one or two lactations.

Reduced Replacement Rates

High herd replacement rates and the resulting high costs make headaches for farms. Long service periods reduce the selection possibilities of the female progeny. Why? because less calves are born per cow unit of time. Outsourcing of replacement animals is costly and can be risky. Such things like Johne`s disease, tuberculosis etc. can be hard to manage if brought in by purchased animals (bred heifers).

Humane transport risk/Animal welfare problem

Slaughter cows can be a humane transport risk, and often times they have no salvage value since they have almost no actual “beef” on their bodies. From a perspective with animal welfare in mind, the foremost goal is to work with a healthy animal produce good quality milk without compromising its natural freedom to express normal behavior and health – all the while living in comfort as much as possible.  Unfortunately, the immune system of animals with the dairy trait character is often compromised by production stress.

This can be seen on the slaughter floor by looking at the lymph nodes. When they are enlarged – it means they are “reactive” to stress. Since there is little or no “beef value”, the carcass is condemned at that point if not even before slaughter. If undue pain and suffering are experienced on the trip to final slaughter, the farm may end up penalized. This would be like getting a speeding ticket – put in simple terms. Why bother? When in doubt – don`t ship it out. Part of the solution to these complex issues may be considering genetic change:

Crossbreeding With Fleckvieh

Crossbreeding, absorption or purebred crossing and three way crossing are options to explore: Below is an example of crossbreeding Holstein Friesen with Fleckvieh over several generations which then leads to purebred animal after the 5th filial generation. Most of the blood of this type of animal is Fleckvieh (above 87.5%). This process is called absorption crossing.

How does our crossing program Fleckvieh (sire) x Holstein Friesen (dam) work?

The Fleckvieh Crossbreeding F1-generation ( first filial generation):

#1. Substance and muscling is added from the Fleckvieh genetics
#2. Hybrid vigor
#3. Stronger healthier calves with faster growth rates
#4. Milk protein content increases
#5. Somatic cell count decrease and lower incidence of mastitis

F2, F3 generations

The mating program for the production of the F2, F3 -generation results in more of the Fleckvieh muscling and frame characteristics becoming apparent:


75% Fleckvieh, 25% Holstein
1. La., 302 days: 7.166 kg – 4.81 fat – 3.15 protein


50% Fleckvieh, 50% Holstein
1. La., 305 days: 9.268 kg – 4.12 fat – 3.43 protein


87,5% Fleckvieh, 12,5% Holstein
1. La., 305 days: 9.026 kg – 4.44 fat – 3.71 protein
2. La., 279 days: 9.124 kg – 3.89 fat – 3.57 protein

Three way crossing

Another method that can be used to enhance the quality of livestock desired traits is three way or three breed crossing: For example Holstein Friesen x Jersey presents you with animal with good birthing abilities, improvement in milk components and likely better feet. Now what is the next breeding step? You wish to keep the good feet and the components but want to add substance, strength and health. The ideal choice is a third breed – Fleckvieh. The same system can be used with for example Holstein Friesen x Swedish Red. Add Fleckvieh to the mix and you can reap benefits mentioned above.

Absorption Crossing

The goal is to breed a balanced F1 crossed animal that has a maximum amount of heterosis, which brings about the predisposition for good growth and makes the first 100 days of the lactation without melting too much of the body substance.

This better body condition makes it such that the cow has to becomes pregnant again without pharmaceutical intervention or prolonged waits for strong heats. Then one can meet the demand of one calf per year and reap all the benefits associated with Fleckvieh Crossbreeding.