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Breeding more efficient cows with VikingGoldenCross

Doug and Emma McLeod are 50/50 Sharemilking in South Otago, New Zealand. They discovered the VikingGoldenCross and saw the opportunity to improve health and fertility traits.

Across New Zealand farmers are using genetics to ease pressure in their pasture-based dairy systems by breeding more efficient cattle with the VikingGoldenCross.

Doug and Emma McLeod are 50/50 Sharemilking in South Otago, New Zealand. Peak milking 460 cows the McLeods are coming into their fifth season now.

Having put together the cheapest herd they could find to kick start their 50/50 sharemilking business, the herd was mostly Friesian x Jersey tending more towards the Jersey breed.

The New Zealand Dairy Industry has a largely crossbred national herd consisting of Friesian x Jerseys, over the last four years the VikingReds have become the number one option for farmers looking to optimise their crossbreeding programmes heterosis and breed stronger healthier cows.

VikingGoldenCross New Zealand Emma and Doug McLeod

New breeding strategy

Doug and Emma wanted to improve the herds conformation and correct the stature, some of the cows were quite frail and weak. With the high Jersey component in the herd, there was no alternative to calves other than bobbies.

“We wanted to move away from the Jerseys but we wanted to maintain the Fertility and Health traits we saw in the Jersey vs the Friesians.”

This led to the McLeods exploring the options of what they could put over their crossbred herd.

“The attraction of crossbreeding was we got a black cow with great hybrid vigour, from there we weren't sure where to go next. We didn't want to go back to Friesians with their fertility and health traits, we didn't want to go to Jersey and we didn't want to use a crossbred bull over our crossbred cows and end up with a frail cow.”

They discovered the VikingGoldenCross and saw the opportunity to maximise the hybrid vigour and pull in some really top health and fertility traits as well as working on the cow's conformation, stature, capacity and udders.

VikingGoldenCross New Zealand Emma and Doug McLeod

Boosting health and fertility

“The advantages of the VikingRed give us the ability to maximise our heterosis and we are still getting predominantly a black or black and white calf, some stay red but that is fine. Basically, we are trying to get a crossbreed or Friesian looking cow but have all those underlying health and fertility traits, as Sharemilkers that will really set up your business's profitability.”

Doug and Emma would love to get down to a 15% replacement rate and maintain great reproduction performance. They have started using sexed semen in the herd to accelerate our genetic gain and remove replacements coming from poorer cows.

“We are looking for that low maintenance medium size cow, she doesn't get noticed because she walks to the shed every morning, she milks and just gets on with it and doesn't have an issue. Some of our main priorities are feet, legs, udders and getting in calf every year, the total package, all those traits a cow needs to have to be a dairy cow.”

Learn more about VikingGoldenCross
VikingGoldenCross New Zealand Emma and Doug McLeod

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