Breeding cattle by crossing different dairy breeds is a practice that regularly occurs in the dairy cattle sector. Its popularity rises and falls, but analysis performed by CRV has revealed that there is a permanent group of farmers who continue to mix and match two or three dairy breeds with more than 80% of their herd. In addition, around 2,000 farmers crossbreed at least 10% of their herds. Each breed has its own strong traits. Making a particular combination of different breeds allows farmers to create an ideal herd that suits their breeding goals and management strategy. An added benefit of crossbreeding is the effect of heterosis: crossbred animals perform better on average than their parents.
CRV compared the performances of animals produced by cross breeding various dairy breeds. Health traits is one of the areas where the effects of heterosis, or hybrid vigor, is clearly visible in this analysis.
Cows bred from a three-way cross are more fertile than those resulting from a two-way cross, but they are not necessarily more productive.
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