A study conducted by Dairy Australia, the national service body for the Australian dairy industry compared the different crossbreds and 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.
The study showed that in terms of the three-way cross, there is no significant difference in volume of milk; however, the protein and fat percentages, the survival (how long the cows are in the herd), conception rate (CR), the six weeks In Calf Rate (6wICR) of the three breed cows outperformed the backcross animals (two cross system).
How can it be possible to have higher gross margins on the same amount of milk?
The answer is that a GoldenCross cow is more fertile. This means that the cow lives longer in the herd and the effect is that she depreciates less each year. "That change in depreciation cost is pure profit into the farmer’s hand”, one of the researchers says.
If you manage your farming system appropriately, you make fewer replacements to keep your herd together, so this is less money in rearing costs. Within a herd that requires 25% replacements, is $500 per cow, per year cost in replacement. So, together the reduced depreciation plus reduced rearing costs are extra income for the crossbreeding cows.
Among the conclusions regarding three-way crossbreeding, three of them can be emphasized:
- the long-term commitment brings the best results,
- the smaller size of the cows brings benefits
- the importance to select only the best bulls of every breed
$2,000 -> 4 years -> sold for $800 = $300 depreciation per year
$500 replacement cost per cow / year /
25% replacements per year
$1,400 -> 6 years -> sold for $650 = $125 depreciation per year
$330 replacement cost per cow / year /
17% replacements per year