Pure Holstein calves and Montbeliarde-sired crossbred calves from multiparous Holstein dams were compared for gestation length, calf weight at birth, calving difficulty, and stillbirth in 2 research herds of the University of Minnesota. The Montbeliarde-sired calves from multiparous Holstein dams had significantly longer gestation lengths (283.2 d) than Holstein-sired calves from Holstein dams (278.4 d), and Montbeliarde-sired calves from multiparous Holstein dams had significantly greater calf weight at birth (48.3. kg) compared with Holstein-sired calves from Holstein dams (43.3. kg). However, calves sired by Montbeliarde bulls were not significantly different from calves sired by Holstein bulls for calving difficulty and stillbirth. In addition, Jersey × Holstein crossbred cows mated to Montbeliarde artificial insemination (AI) bulls were compared with pure Holstein cows mated to Holstein AI bulls for gestation length, calf weight at birth, calving difficulty, and stillbirth at their first 3 calvings. Gestation length was significantly longer for Jersey × Holstein cows bred to Montbeliarde bulls than for pure Holstein cows bred to Holstein bulls at first calving (280.3 versus 277.7 d) and second and third calving (282.2 versus 278.6 d); however, Jeresy × Holstein cows bred to Montbeliarde AI bulls were not significantly different from pure Holstein cows bred to Holstein AI bulls for calf weight at birth, calving difficulty, and stillbirth at the first 3 calvings.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors express gratitude to Bill Hansen and coworkers at St. Paul and Darin Huot and coworkers at Morris for their assistance in data collection and care of animals. Financial support was provided for this project by the American Jersey Cattle Club Research Foundation (Reynoldsburg, Ohio) and Coopex Montbéliarde (Roulans, France).
- Calving difficulty
- Gestation length