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Angus Sires for Holstein Heifers

The main objective of the project was achieved, with less than 10% of births assisted and more than 90% of calves surviving. Most properties recorded low conception rates, and the general explanation was low fertility of the Holstein breed. The reasons for calving assistance and calf deaths varied, though high nutrition and over feeding prior to calving were judged to be significant factors on one of the properties.

Overall, the Angus sires did not significantly increase calving difficulties compared to Jersey sires. The Angus cross Holstein calves were significantly more profitable than the Jersey cross Holstein calves. The Angus cross heifers were valued higher than the steers due to demand as vealer breeders. Very few Jersey cross steer calves were kept as yearlings due to low growth rates, poor meat yield and low sale price. Insemination costs averaged $30 per cow, but this cost translated to $60 per live calf due to the low conception rate achieved.

Based on calf value, the trial was break even at best. The extra time and labour involved in the AI process was deemed significant, but not included in profitability calculations. The economics indicated that it was profitable to join Holstein heifers to low birth weight, moderate framed Angus bulls. Since most participants were unsatisfied with the AI process, they indicated that they would join suitable Angus sires in paddock mating. Changing market conditions have reduced the profitability of the Angus cross Holstein progeny, with the market demand for dairy cows and marbled beef increasing.

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This page was last updated on 21/07/2017

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