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BREEDER’S FORUM
OUTCROSS BREEDING
In this special focus on Outcross Breeding we have gathered together a varied
and diverse group of UK breeders who have a wide range of experience and
opinion on the Holstein and Friesian breeds.
Q
Do you feel the level of inbreeding in the national herd is causing
problems, and if so is crossbreeding the solution?
Richard - I don’t think inbreeding is the only problem with the national herd, more the years of
chasing higher and higher yields without considering type and longevity. Most breeders have
realised this and given time the problems in some herds can be rectifi ed.
Crossbreeding would appeal to some to sort out inbreeding but not the pedigree man,
there should still be enough genetics within the breed to slow the inbreeding down and
still remain pedigree.
David - Yes it is always a concern but at the moment it is not causing any problems and
crossbreeding can be a solution as long as bad traits are not brought into the breed.
Tim - While inbreeding has the potential to become an issue in the UK in the future, it is
not at a worrying level yet and with the bulls and software currently available there is no
reason for it to
become a problem. Any move to crossbreeding should therefore not be made for this reason and all
the pros and cons should be considered.
Robert - The level of inbreeding could become a problem if not adequately addressed by individuals scrutinising their
own management systems. Crossbreeding is defi nitely not the answer. It serves to devalue your stock and yes the fi rst
cross may bring success but what is the next step?
Q
Would you sacrifi ce particular traits in a bull just because he is considered an
outcross sire?
Richard - I would never use a bull just because he is an outcross, he’d need to be high type with
good production to be considered and it would be a bonus if he was an outcross.
David (right) - If there are major problems in certain traits I would not consider using an
outcross sire.
Tim - I suppose we are already doing this as we have reset our breeding goals; while
type is still important to us we don’t want very tall, very sharp or very deep bodied cows,
however we still want good locomotion and a sound mammary and all bulls
must conform to this. The focus on management traits and
outcrosses will produce a cow that is slightly different to our
ideal of ten years ago. However if she lasts longer and costs
us less to keep then I will be happy.
Robert (left) - I feel there is no need to sacrifi ce any traits in bull selection especially in
the Holsteins where the genetic pool available is varied if people take the time to look.
As I have said before the genetic pool available for the Jersey breed is somewhat smaller
and so I can see sacrifi ces having to be made in the future.
80 THE JOURNAL OCTOBER 2009
e5-09 Breeders Forum.indd 2 21/09/2009 22:11:12
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