Dairy cattle breeding programs in temperate climates have used selection within purebred populations as the primary tool for improvement. Population replacement with Holstein germ plasm has evolved as the predominant strategy of breed u itiliza tio n in Canada and the United States and is a trend in other developed dairy areas of the world. Two crossbreeding schemes which could be the basis of alternative breed u tilization in breeding programs are compared. Crossbreeding studies with Holsteins and other Bos taurus dairy breeds are evaluated for evidence of heterosis as well as for the competitiveness of superior crossbreds with Holsteins. The crossbreeding study using Holsteins and an Ayrshire-based synthetic as parent lines revealed that heterosis existed for survival, growth, heifer reproduction and lactation yields. The Fj demonstrated superiority over Holsteins for survival to fir s t calving and yields in later lactations of second generation crossbreds were equivalent to Holsteins. The role of crossbreeding in breeding programs for intensive milk production in temperate climates is assessed.

A. J McAllister

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume IX. Breeding programs for dairy and beef cattle, water buffalo, sheep, and goats., , 47–61, 1986
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