Three Benefits of a Dairy Crossbreeding Program

Publish date: 3/29/2023   

What if we told you that you could create a cow in one generation that eats less, produces more, makes less trips to the hospital pen, and possesses unrivaled fertility through dairy crossbreeding?  

Ah, now that we have your attention. Keep reading to find out how! 

Doing things the way we always have done them does not always allow for progression, innovation, and continual increasing profits. Successful businesspeople thrive, not because they kept with traditional, but because they pushed the boundaries of innovation and trying new things. 

 In a traditional genetic selection and purebred dairy, single-generation gains in profitability are likely unrealistic. With increased input cost, regulations, and other hurdles to jump over, we must challenge the status quo to increase profitability. You can’t challenge the status quo by sticking to traditional. For some, that next best move could be implement a well-designed dairy crossbreeding program with a purpose.  

[LEARN MORE: Dairy Crossbreeding]

Three Benefits of Dairy Crossbreeding 

  • Breed complementarity or take advantage of the superior traits within various breeds  
  • Heterosis or Hybrid Vigor or the “free benefit” of crossbreeding that enhances performance, particularly fertility and health traits  
  • Improve your herd faster through significant breed differences and a larger genetic pool  

A key to remember is that not all crosses are created equal.

Genetics still matter even when implementing a crossbreeding program. While combining different breed will generate hybrid vigor, the most detrimental mistake a producer can make when crossbreeding is introduction low-level genetics from any breed. That is why it is key to have a plan with a purpose for your crossbreeding program. Consider how good the sires are within their respective breeds, but also, keep in mind that the ‘best’ bull for crossbreeding from each breed might not be the traditional number one bull in the breed.  

Hybrid Vigor boosts production by two to five percent and fertility and health by 10 to 15 percent over the parent average.

At ABS we work with our genetic partners to use dairy crossbreeding as a tool to create cows customized for your system. Two-breed rotational cross, three-breed rotational cross, and terminal crossing are all options that fit different management systems. Below are five steps to follow to design your crossbreeding program. 

Design Your Crossbreeding Program  

  1. Create a priority list of what you want to achieve from your crossbreed herd  
  1. Identify the breeds that are most relevant or complementary to your herd  
  1. Choose your crossbreeding system  
  1. Two-way cross  
  1. Three-way cross  
  1. Design a long-term plan for creating your custom herd of crossbreds  
  1. Select the sires that match your herd’s priorities  

Crossbreeding is a solution that gives you more, faster. Time after time, you can expect a reduced workload and increased profits from crossbred cows by delivering excellent production, superb health, and unrivaled fertility. With the help of ABS, you can tailor make your crossbreeding program for your unique herd, system, and environment.   

[READ: Get Started with Dairy Crossbreeding]

Learn more about harnessing the power of hybrid vigor by reading ourarticle originally published in Progressive Dairy.    

Looking to utilization a crossbreeding program? Contact your Genetic Advisor or complete the form below. 


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