When talking about dairy cows and breeding, we immediately think “dairy bulls!” Milk, fat protein, conformation, fitness etc. are the criteria we look at. A new phenomenon that is coming up very quickly is beef on dairy. In other words, a beef bull gets a dairy cow pregnant. The main question is why? Luc Libberecht, Sales Director for Semex Holland, in The Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark tells us all about beef on dairy.
Beef bulls on dairy cows
There are different reasons for mating beef bulls on dairy cows, but one of the most common reasons is simply to get a cow pregnant. Beef bulls are mainly used on problematic breeders. This is not a bad line of thought, but I believe there are more options!
Since Semex has developed its Solutions strategies, we can help each dairy farmer in making better decisions and setting up a strategic breeding plan. This can be very simple, by only using a percentage of beef bulls on the lowest cows in the herd. But, how can you define them?
Mating program: OptiMate
The Semex Optimate program can help you make this decision. It tells you which part of the cows are genetically on the low end of the herd. We recommend breeding top cows and heifers to elite bulls with sexed semen to improve the genetics returning to your herd. And, conversely you can choose to breed less profitable cows to Semex Beef sires, with the resulting animals being sold for beef.
Genetic Tool Selection: Elevate
There is even a better option today: use the Semex Elevate program to determine how many replacement heifers you really need in the next few years. By filling in several parameters, Elevate will tell you which part of the herd can be inseminated with beef bulls to give you the best economic result for your herd.
Belgian Blues or Angus?
Once you have made this decision, Semex can help you find out which beef bulls would be most convenient in your situation. In Holland and Belgium for instance, the Belgian Blues are the most wanted in the market right know. In other markets, Black Angus or other breeds could be more interesting.
The last and very important step is to use the right bulls, whatever breed you want to use. Semex will present you the best bulls with the best calving ease. It is very important to avoid difficult calvings, because this is crucial for a good start of the dairy cow in her next lactation. Therefore, we select bulls with a good calving ease that produce calves, that grow well and have the right musculation, so that they bring added value and are wanted on the market.
Beef on dairy is in many cases a very good idea, as long as you make the right calculation about replacement and use the right bulls. In this way, it can bring extra money on every dairy farm and help create a good future!