HYVIG™ Crossbreeding

HYVIG™ Crossbreeding logo

Get the help you need to create the problem-free herd you want. The revolutionary HYVIG™ dairy crossbreeding solution will fit your system perfectly, delivering excellent production, superb health, and unrivaled fertility. Expect reduced workload and increased profits – time after time.

Purebred Norwegian Red cow.
Purebred Norwegian Red

The Norwegian Red breed is known for superior health and fitness traits. Females tend to have less difficulty calving, breed back easily, and are medium-sized, trouble-free cows that work well in commercial dairies. In other words, just what a dairy needs to become more profitable.

ABS recommends a three-breed rotational HYVIG™ crossbreeding program involving the Holstein, Jersey and Norwegian Red breeds.

HYVIG™ Crossbreeding with Norwegian Red

In extensive research, Norwegian Red sires have added profitability to HYVIG™ crossbreeding programs with:

  • Improved fertility
  • Increased survival
  • Improved mastitis resistance
  • Improved resistance to other diseases
  • Improved percentages of fat and protein

Facts about Norwegian Red (NR):

  • Production + Health + Fertility: Geno, the ABS provider of Norwegian Red genetics for HYVIG™, has placed emphasis on Health and Fertility traits for over 40 years. This, plus a balanced program for production, has resulted in a cow that has competitive production traits, in addition to world-leading health and fertility traits.
  • Big, Solid Data: Accurate and reliable information based on a long-term and robust national data recording/breeding program. Over 98% of cows are enrolled in a National record keeping program.

What makes the Norwegian Red different?

  • National database* includes insemination, milk recording, health, management, pedigree and conformation data – even slaughterhouse records.
  • Records on 12+ million cows for 40+ years for health and fertility.
  • Conventional and sexed semen exported to over 30 countries.
  • Moderate sized cow with outstanding fertility, health, and component yields.
  • High frequency of polled gene and A2A2 Kappa caseins.

*Norwegian Dairy Herd Recording System – 98% of the 200,000 NR cows in Norway contribute data to national database.

The Norwegian Red Breeding program

  • More than 90% of the dairy cows in Norway are Norwegian Reds. The population consists of approximately 200,000 cows of which 98% contribute to the Norwegian Dairy Herd Recording System.
  • All herds participating in the Norwegian Dairy Herd Recording System are active in the breeding program and the best cows in these herds are elite cows and potential bull dams.

Until February 2016, the Norwegian Red breeding program was based on progeny testing of sires. Since then, genomic selection has been fully implemented in the current breeding scheme.

The Norwegian Red genomic program is based on the Single Step Evaluation Method. The advantage, over commonly used 2-step methods, is that all available information, such as phenotypes, genotypes, and pedigree information on all animals, is included simultaneously in predicting breeding values. This results in the highest reliabilities possible for the genomic breeding values of sires used for HYVIG™.

Today’s Breeding Goal

The Norwegian Red’s Total Merit Index (TMI) is used for sire selection. Breeding values for traits (or indexes of traits) in TMI have individual weights totaling 100%.

14 traits (including trait indexes) are included in the 2021 TMI.

HYVIG™ Crossbreeding with Jersey

Commercial dairy producers typically cite two reasons for starting to crossbreed their Holstein herd to Jersey. These are:

  • Eliminate calving problems on their virgin heifers
  • Increase fat and protein % in the milk they produce

These profit-oriented dairy producers using HYVIG™ also report many additional benefits, which are backed up by research:

  • Improved reproductive performance
  • Healthier animals
  • Improved hoof health
  • Increased longevity
  • Reduced dry matter intake and better feed efficiency
Two Holstein x Jersey crossbreds as a result of HYVIG™
Holstein x Jersey crossbreds (HoJos)

Many large, profit-motivated dairy producers are currently milking Holstein x Jersey crossbreds (HoJos), and they are experiencing the increased profitability these small, efficient cows produce.

In many cases producers follow a two-way cross, alternating between Jersey and Holstein. While this is a simple system, many producers fall into the trap of if it looks like a Holstein – breed her to Jersey; if she looks like a Jersey – breed her to Holstein. This approach fails to capitalize on one of the main benefits of crossbreeding – heterosis.

The benefits of crossbreeding are achieved via two routes:

  • Heterosis or hybrid vigor
  • Complementarity – using breeds that contribute what you want in your herd

A crossbreeding program that doesn’t maximize heterosis leaves potential profit on the table. That is why HYVIG™ also includes a three-way cross, as this offers increased hybrid vigor. In a three-breed rotation it is important that all three breeds contribute traits of value to your herd.

If profit is your goal, consider using Jersey genetics in your HYVIG™ crossbreeding program.

To quote Larry F. Tranel of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Dairy Team: “If you want a cow that not only eats less but is smaller, lasts longer, breeds better, has less days to first service, less calving difficulty, less stillbirths, and better overall general health (less vet bills), then crossbreeding may be a deal for your dairy herd.”

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