Saturday, June 25, 2005


I have received a few email questions about what traits I think are important to breed for in dairy cattle and what my general philosophy is. I will respond to the emails in more detail privately, but here are a few ideas everyone my find useful. You have to breed cattle that will work in your management system. If you are like me and graze your cows and feed a mostly forage based diet in the barn, the kind of cow you want will be different than what our freestall/TMR type neighbors are breeding for. I breed for Chest width, spring of rib, and depth of body. We need cows that can consume large volumes of cheap forage and turn it into milk. Shallow udders with a good deep center crease. Walking up and down these hills hunting for grass all summer will wear out an udder. People today want a 2 year old that is a mature cow, then they are surprised that she doesn't last. Your born, you mature, you die. Steep foot angle and a good leg are very important as well. Bellow are some random thoughts....

Pay more attention to maternal lines, don't just rely on bulls. Great herds are built on strong maternal lines that transmit.

It takes years to breed on a good udder and one poor sire choice to lose it.

Animals generally breed the average of their inheritance. Pay less attention to "numbers" and more on what the ancestors actually did.

Learn to be critical of your cows. You must find the faults if you are going to improve them. Mate each cow as an individual, finding bulls that are strong in the traits that need improving.

Be patient. It takes many years to see the the fruit of your labor. Remember the grandkids!


At 6/26/2005 7:19 PM, Anonymous Evermoor said...

These are admiral qualities in any animal, so why have we turned everything into breeding by paper. What irrates me is when they give out the selection for young breeders award them all seem to use the Jerseymate computer mating program. Then we are told that inbreeding is a huge problem but then we only report the sire lines with indifference it seems to the fact a lot of these bulls all stem from the same maternal lines?? Funny how great paramount attention was when his half brothers Jade and Resurrection are practically a dirty word. Why is it that a Danish bull is okay or hot to use but a Canadain bull bre3d to last is not. Every see any dam information on Jas Byg or Impulse?? Or maybe it is a big conspiracy that Our cows can milk and last, but the semen companies just want hard breeders that burn out so they can sell more junk to us. Then we get lucky if someone classifies us that appreciates this type of cow versus the mature two year old. Or else they get mad when we tell them they are dead wrong making a cow 78 or 81 when we show them pictures of their 90 plus point type of cows in the journal. Funny when the assoc, did a study on what effects cow longevity and they biggest survival traits are udder depth and teat placement. So why is that shallow youthful udder penalized. My favorite thing is when a classifier ask the sire or how she is milking?? Just score here on how she looks,Geez I thought it was a type appraisal. Just my rant, on why most the bulls in the tank would make a sire analyst shudder, and a dairyman dream.


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