Skip to main content

VikingGoldenCross - crossbreeding for seasonal calving

Excellent fertility. Low maintenance costs. A healthier and more profitable herd. VikingGoldenCross is delighting pasture-based farmers around the world. Are you ready to start your systematic three-way crossing?

Healthy, fertile cows for pasture-based production

How much does it cost when a cow doesn't get pregnant in your seasonal calving herd? What if you could increase your conception rate, boost your lifetime production and reduce the costs and amount of work per cow?

VikingGoldenCross is a 3-breed rotational crossbreeding programme combining VikingHolstein, VikingRed and VikingJersey.

The combination of the three VikingGenetics breeds gives you:

  • Healthy, fertile, ideally sized grazing cows that are easy to manage and equipped to walk long distances
  • A +9% higher relative conception rate compared to two-way crossbred cows in a pasture-based production
  • Higher fat and protein percentages and a higher lifetime production
  • A better dairy form and beef value by adding VikingRed as the third breed

VikingGoldenCross is used by progressive farmers in New Zealand, Australia, the UK, Ireland and other countries. The concept is especially suitable for seasonal calving herds.

Based on decades of data collection and a focus on breeding for health and performance, VikingGoldenCross is your accurate and structured crossbreeding solution.

crossbred dairy cow on pasture

Why combine these three dairy breeds?

VikingHolstein, VikingRed and VikingJersey are amongst the top scores for health and production traits worldwide. They each have their own breed improvement programme with high-ranking bulls.

The VikingGoldenCross breeds complement each other well and compensate for their strong and weak points. They are unrelated, high-producing and well-suited for pasture-based production farms.

Because VikingGoldenCross cows are healthy at core with superior reproduction traits, they live longer in your herd and give you a higher lifetime profit per cow. You also get heterosis as an extra benefit on top of the parent average.

When you add VikingRed as the third breed to a two-way cross between Holstein and Jersey, your cows will have a less angular dairy form with better reproduction and beef value. The offspring only becomes 1.3 cm taller than the two-way cross.

The end result is a herd of ideally sized grazing cows with optimum health and a superior tolerance to weather extremes. VikingGoldenCross cows are equipped to walk long distances because of their economical frame size and strong feet with dark hooves.

  VikingHolstein VikingRed VikingJersey
Fat kg *** ** ***
Protein kg *** ** *
Fertility ** *** ***
Calving ease * ** ***
Hoof health * ** ***
Udder health ** *** **
General health ** *** **
Udder conformation *** ** **
Moderate size * *** **
three dairy cattle breeds, holstein, red and jersey

The free benefits of heterosis

One of the great advantages of breeding VikingGoldenCross is heterosis—the increase of favourable characteristics of a hybrid organism over the characteristics of its parents.

Heterosis is the opposite of inbreeding. It happens when you cross two unrelated breeds.

Research has found that heterosis especially improves traits like vitality, fertility, health, survival, lifetime production and longevity.

In crossbreeding, the first generation is called F1. Instead of backcrossing the F1 as you would in two-way crossbreeding, you introduce a third breed.

The heterosis stays at 100% for the first two generations. Then it drops when the first backcross happens (mated to the original breed) to give the F3. After a few generations, the heterosis levels at 86%.

By using the three-way cross in VikingGoldenCross, you can achieve a steady heterosis of 86% compared to 67% with a two-way cross. This means that you get a healthier and more fertile herd for seasonal calving.

Crossbreeding heterosis

See what VikingGoldenCross can offer for your herd?

VikingGoldenCross crossbreeding system can improve the fertility, health and production of your herd. It is especially suitable for grazing herds.

VikingGoldenCross is delighting pasture-based farmers around the world. Are you ready to start your systematic three-way crossing?


Our customers say

Discover 9 inspiring success stories from block-calving herds Download VikingGoldenCross Magazine
VikingGoldenCross cows

Scientifically proven results with three-way crossing

VikingGoldenCross is growing in popularity around the world. An increasing number of seasonal calving farmers are experiencing the benefits of three-way crossbreeding.

Study 1: Crossbred cows are more fertile

A study conducted by Dairy Australia compared different crossbreds to purebred herds on a pasture-based system. The researchers analysed data from more than 23 million lactation records from almost 900,000 cows on 18,207 farms collated over a 14 year period.

The study concluded that a crossbred cow is more fertile, she lives longer and depreciates less.





Conception rate (1st service)




Pregnant by week 6




% not pregnant by week 12




Milk kg



-864 kg

Protein, kg



-12 kg

Protein, %




Fat, kg



same level

Fat, %




Australian goldencross dairy farmer

Study 2: Fertility and milk solids - backed by research

Another study by Dairy Australia has compared the performance of two-breed and three-breed crossbred herds.

Using data from nearly 7,000 cows with over 25,000 lactations on pasture-based farms, they found that compared to the two-way cross, the Holstein/Jersey/Red cross showed significantly higher lifespan and better fertility:

  • +4 %-points in conception rate (1st service)
  • +8 %-points in six-week in-calf rate

The three-breed crossbreds showed no significant difference in volume of milk, but outperformed the two-breed cross for milk solids production.

£15,000 extra profit

By utilizing three breeds for your crossbreeding programme, you can expect more than £15,000 extra profit per year in a 240-cow herd with a total production of 1,200,000 kg milk per year. That extra profit is from improvements in production of milk solids and fertility-related traits alone:

  • £11,400 from higher fat and protein content per kg of milk
  • £4,235 from fertility related traits

Total financial benefits are expected to be even higher when various direct and indirect cost reductions are accounted for, e.g. lower vet costs, lower culling rates, less work per cow and other.

The estimation of extra profit of £15,635 in financial benefits under UK conditions is based on:

  • The ADHB data milk price calculator with the average of three different manufacturing contracts
  • The Australian pasture-based crossbreeding study, where three-way crossbreds including Reds had higher milk solids and better fertility than two-way crosses between Holstein and Jersey

Key findings of Australian pasture-based crossbreeding study


Two-way cross (Jersey/Holstein)

Three-way cross (Holstein/Jersey/Red)


Milk (litres)



Fat %



Protein %



Fat (kg)



Protein (kg)



Total fat & protein (kg)




Conception rate (1st service)



Pregnant by week 6





Study 3: Crossbred cows have stronger health and better body condition

A UK study conducted by the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) in Northern Ireland has compared the performance of pure Holstein and three-breed (VikingRed/Jersey/Holstein) crossbred cows in herds adopting spring-calving production systems.

The study concluded that, compared to pure Holsteins, the crossbred cows have:

  • significantly higher fat and protein percentages
  • lower milk yield with similar fat and protein output (kg)
  • lower dry matter intake
  • better health
  • less body weight with significantly higher body condition scores.

The experiment began at the point when cows calved and encompassed one full lactation. All crossbred cows were sired by VikingRed bulls.

Reduce mastitis and save over £10,000

By utilizing three breeds in a crossbreeding programme, you can save over £10,000 in a 200-cow herd. 

VikingRed x Jersey/Holstein cows have 4.3 times less mastitis cases compared to purebred Holsteins.

The estimation of savings under UK conditions is based on data from AHDB showing that treating each case of mastitis can cost between £250 and £300 on average due to vet costs, reduction is yields and loss of milk.



Pure Holstein cows

VikingRed x Jersey/Holstein cows

Statistical difference

Milk yield, kg




Fat, %




Protein, %




Fat yield, kg




Protein yield, kg




DMI, cow/day, early lactation




Body weight, mean over full lactation, kg




Body condition score, mean over full lactation




(% of cows with at least 1 treatment)




Ovarian dysfunction
(% of cows with at least 1 treatment)






Study 4: Better health and reproduction with VikingGoldenCross

Researchers from SEGES in Denmark have found that three-way cross cows, when compared to Holstein cows, have:

  • Better general health and hoof health
  • Less reproductive disorders and metabolic disorders
  • Better fertility with results showing calving intervals 15 days shorter for three- way crossbreeding cows


VikingGoldenCross – difference compared to pure Holstein

Fat, 1st lactation

+28 kg

Fat, 2nd lactation

+23 kg

Fat, 3rd lactation

+12 kg

Calving interval

-15 days

Period from first to last insemination

-8 days

Reproductive disorders


Hoof disorders


Metabolic disorders


How do I get started with VikingGoldenCross?

The steps to be successful with three-way crossbreeding in your dairy herd:

  • Contact your VikingGenetics representative and create a long-term plan together
  • Only use bulls from VikingHolstein, VikingRed and VikingJersey for optimal results
  • Be consistent and stick to the plan – crossbreeding generates long-term results

Enjoy the easy, long-living, profitable cows in your VikingGoldenCross herd

Full support in making a genetic strategy for your herd

In the video, you can learn more about how to get started with VikingGoldenCross and what you should expect when working with VikingGenetics. To achieve a true VikingGoldenCross herd takes time and is a journey to success. We are here to help and support you every step of the way.

Download your guide now

Crossbreeding solution for spring grazing

Download here for free

Watch the webinar and learn about the advantages of Red cows Watch now

Want to know more about crossbreeding and VikingGenetics?
Send us a message and we will get back to you.