Rotational crossbred cows of the Montbéliarde, Viking Red, and Holstein (HO) breeds (CB) were compared with HO cows for dry matter intake (DMI), body weight (BW), cow height, body condition score (BCS), and production during the first 150 d of first, second, and third lactations. Primiparous and multiparous CB (n = 63 and 43, respectively) and HO (n = 60 and 37, respectively) cows calved from September 2014 to June 2017. Cows were fed the same total mixed ration twice daily, with refusals weighed once daily. The BW was recorded twice weekly, and height at the withers and the hips was recorded monthly. The BCS was evaluated weekly. The fat plus protein production from 4 to 150 d in milk was calculated from monthly test days using best prediction. Primiparous and multiparous cows were analyzed separately. Statistical analysis for primiparous cows included the fixed effects of year of calving and breed group, and the analysis for multiparous cows included the fixed effect of breed group and the repeated effect of cow nested within breed group. Primiparous CB cows (2,807 kg) had lower mean DMI than HO cows (2,948 kg) from 4 to 150 d in milk of first lactation. Mean BW was not different for the CB (562 kg) and HO (556 kg) cows, but primiparous CB cows had mean wither height that was 4.0 cm shorter and mean hip height that was 2.0 cm shorter than that of HO cows. Primiparous CB cows (3.46) had higher mean BCS compared with HO cows (3.20). Mean fat plus protein production did not differ for the primiparous CB and HO cows (331 vs. 329 kg, respectively). Multiparous CB cows (3,360 kg) also had lower mean DMI than HO cows (3,592 kg) and did not differ (636 kg) from HO cows (644 kg) for mean BW. The CB cows had mean wither height that was 3.5 cm shorter than that of HO cows, but mean hip height did not differ for multiparous CB (145.2 cm) and HO (146.4 cm) cows. Mean BCS was higher for multiparous CB cows (3.25) than for HO cows (3.06), and mean fat plus protein production was not different for multiparous CB (445 kg) and HO (441 kg) cows. The lower DMI of the CB cows than HO cows resulted in less feed cost without loss of revenue from fat plus protein production.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors express gratitude to the staff at the Dairy Cattle Teaching and Research Facility of the University of Minnesota, St. Paul, for their assistance in data collection and care of animals. Funding for this project was provided by Coopex Montbéliarde (Roulans, France), Viking Genetics (Randers, Denmark), and the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station (University of Minnesota, St. Paul).
- feed intake
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Comparative Study
- Journal Article