Abstract #374

# 374
Montbéliarde × Holstein and Viking Red × Holstein crossbreds compared with pure Holsteins during first lactation in eight high-performance dairies in Minnesota: II. Fertility, survival, and conformation.
A. R. Hazel*1, B. J. Heins2, L. B. Hansen1, 1University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, 2West Central Research and Outreach Center, Morris, MN.

Montbéliarde × Holstein crossbred cows (MH) and Viking Red × Holstein crossbred cows (VH) were compared with pure Holstein cows (HO) for fertility, survival, and conformation during first lactation. A designed crossbreeding study was initiated in 8 commercial dairy herds in Minnesota in 2008. The first generation cows (MH, VH, and HO) calved for the first time from December 2010 to November 2013. Cows (n = 451, 487, and 794 for MH, VH, and HO, respectively) were required to have at least 250 DIM for days open (DO), and cows with DO greater than 250 d were truncated to 250 d. For survival to second calving (n = 415, 450, and 697 for MH, VH, and HO, respectively), cows had at least 20 mo of opportunity to calve a second time. Conformation was scored once between 4 and 150 d on a linear, 9-point scale. Independent variables for the analysis of DO and conformation traits included herd-year-season, breed, interaction of herd-year-season and breed, and random sire effect nested within breed. Chi-squared was used to test survival to second calving. The MH (116 d) had significantly fewer DO (P < 0.05) than HO (126 d); however, VH (122 d) were similar to HO for DO. The MH (86%) had significantly greater (P < 0.01) survival to second calving compared with HO (80%), but VH (83%) were similar to HO. The MH and VH had greater udder depth than HO (Table 1); however, culling for udder conformation did not differ for breed groups. The MH and VH had less stature, angularity, and body depth than HO (Table 1), indicating they had smaller body size with more body condition. Table 1. Least squares means of conformation scores for Montbéliarde × Holstein crossbred cows (MH) and Viking Red × Holstein crossbred cows (VH) compared with pure Holstein cows (HO) in 8 high-input dairies in Minnesota
TraitHO (n = 1,137)MH (n = 523)VH (n = 564)
Stature (9 = tall)5.44.7**3.9**
Angularity (9 = angular)5.62.6**4.2**
Body depth (9 = deep)5.14.1**4.4**
Foot angle (9 = steep)5.66.6**5.5
Udder depth (9 = shallow)6.95.4**6.2**
**Difference from HO (P < 0.01).

Key Words: crossbreeding