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VikingGoldenCross - crossbreeding for seasonal calving

Excellent fertility. Low maintenance costs. A healthier and more profitable herd. VikingGoldenCross is delighting pasture-based farmers around the world. Are you ready to start your systematic three-way crossing?

Healthy, fertile cows for pasture-based production

How much does it cost when a cow doesn't get pregnant in your seasonal calving herd? What if you could increase your conception rate, boost your lifetime production, and reduce the costs and amount of work per cow?

VikingGoldenCross is a 3-breed rotational crossbreeding program combining VikingHolstein, VikingRed, and VikingJersey.

The combination of the three VikingGenetics breeds gives you:

  • Healthy, fertile, ideally sized grazing cows that are easy to manage and equipped to walk long distances
  • A +9% higher relative conception rate compared to two-way crossbred cows in a pasture-based production
  • Higher fat and protein percentages and a higher lifetime production
  • A better dairy form and beef value by adding VikingRed as the third breed

VikingGoldenCross is used by progressive farmers in New Zealand, Australia, the UK, Ireland, and other countries. The concept is especially suitable for seasonal calving herds.

Based on decades of data collection and a focus on breeding for health and performance, VikingGoldenCross is your accurate and structured crossbreeding solution.

Beautiful crossbred dairy cow on pasture

Why combine these three dairy breeds?

VikingHolstein, VikingRed, and VikingJersey are amongst the top scores for health and production traits worldwide. They each have their own breed improvement program with high-ranking bulls.

The VikingGoldenCross breeds compliment each other well and compensate for their strong and weak points. They are unrelated, high-producing, and well-suited for pasture-based production farms.

Because VikingGoldenCross cows are healthy at the core with superior reproduction traits, they live longer in your herd and give you a higher lifetime profit per cow. You also get heterosis as an extra benefit on top of the parent average.

When you add VikingRed as the third breed to a two-way cross between Holstein and Jersey, your cows will have a less angular dairy form with better reproduction and beef value. The offspring only becomes 1.3 cm taller than the two-way cross.

The end result is a herd of ideally sized grazing cows with optimum health and superior tolerance to weather extremes. VikingGoldenCross cows are equipped to walk long distances because of their economical frame size and strong feet with dark hooves.

  VikingHolstein VikingRed VikingJersey
Fat kg *** ** ***
Protein kg *** ** *
Fertility ** *** ***
Calving ease * ** ***
Hoof health * ** ***
Udder health ** *** **
General health ** *** **
Udder conformation *** ** **
Moderate size * *** **
three dairy cattle breeds used in crossbreeding

The free benefits of heterosis

One of the great advantages of breeding VikingGoldenCross is heterosis—the increase of favourable characteristics of a hybrid organism over the characteristics of its parents.

Heterosis is the opposite of inbreeding. It happens when you cross two unrelated breeds.

Research has found that heterosis especially improves traits like vitality, fertility, health, survival, lifetime production and longevity.

In crossbreeding, the first generation is called F1. Instead of backcrossing the F1 as you would in two-way crossbreeding, you introduce a third breed.

The heterosis stays at 100% for the first two generations. Then it drops when the first backcross happens (mated to the original breed) to give the F3. After a few generations, the heterosis levels at 86%.

By using the three-way cross in VikingGoldenCross, you can achieve a steady heterosis of 86% compared to 67% with a two-way cross. This means that you get a healthier and more fertile herd for seasonal calving.

Crossbreeding heterosis

Scientifically proven results with three-way crossing

VikingGoldenCross is growing in popularity around the world. An increasing number of seasonal calving farmers are experiencing the benefits of three-way crossbreeding.

Study 1: Crossbred cows are more fertile
A study conducted by Dairy Australia compared different crossbreds to purebred herds on a pasture-based system. The researchers analysed data from more than 23 million lactation records from almost 900,000 cows on 18,207 farms collated over a 14 year period.

The study concluded that a crossbred cow is more fertile, she lives longer and depreciates less.

 

Holstein

Crossbreds

Difference

Conception rate (1st service)

39%

49%

+25%

Pregnant by week 6

46%

66%

+43%

% not pregnant by week 12

16%

8%

+50%

Milk kg

6,776

5,912

-864 kg

Protein, kg

221

209

-12 kg

Protein, %

3.27%

3.55%

+0.28%

Fat, kg

261

261

same level

Fat, %

3.89%

4.46%

+0.57%

Australian vikinggoldencross dairy farmer

Study 2: Fertility and milk solids - backed by research

Another study by Dairy Australia has compared the performance of two-breed and three-breed crossbred herds.

Using data from nearly 7,000 cows with over 25,000 lactations on pasture-based farms, they found that compared to the two-way cross, the Holstein/Jersey/Red cross showed significantly higher lifespan and better fertility:

  • +4 %-points in conception rate (1st service)
  • +8 %-points in six-week in-calf rate

The three-breed crossbreds showed no significant difference in volume of milk, but outperformed the two-breed cross for milk solids production.

Parameter

Two-way cross (Jersey/Holstein)

Three-way cross (Holstein/Jersey/Red)

Production

Milk (litres)

6,010

5,950

Fat %

4.24

4.37

Protein %

3.41

3.54

Fat (kg)

252

257

Protein (kg)

204

210

Total fat & protein (kg)

456

467

Fertility

Conception rate (1st service)

47%

51%

Pregnant by week 6

63%

71%

 

Study 3: Better health and reproduction with VikingGoldenCross

Researchers from SEGES in Denmark have found that three-way cross cows, when compared to Holstein cows, have:

  • Better general health and hoof health
  • Less reproductive disorders and metabolic disorders
  • Better fertility with results showing calving intervals 15 days shorter for three- way crossbreeding cows

 

VikingGoldenCross – difference compared to pure Holstein

Fat, 1st lactation

+28 kg

Fat, 2nd lactation

+23 kg

Fat, 3rd lactation

+12 kg

Calving interval

-15 days

Period from first to last insemination

-8 days

Reproductive disorders

-40%

Hoof disorders

-44%

Metabolic disorders

-35%

VikingGoldenCross

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How to get started with VikingGoldenCross

In this video, you can learn more about how to get started with VikingGoldenCross and what you should expect when working with VikingGenetics. To achieve a true VikingGoldenCross herd takes time and is a journey to success. We are here to help and support you every step of the way.

How do I get started with VikingGoldenCross?

The steps to be successful with three-way crossbreeding in your dairy herd:

  • Contact your VikingGenetics representative and create a long-term plan together
  • Only use bulls from VikingHolstein, VikingRed, and VikingJersey for optimal results
  • Be consistent and stick to the plan – crossbreeding generates long-term results

Enjoy the easy, long-living, profitable cows in your VikingGoldenCross herd.

Want to know more about crossbreeding and VikingGenetics?
Send us a message and we will get back to you.