Pure-breeding with sexed semen and crossbreeding with semen of double-muscled sires to improve beef production from dairy herds: Factors affecting heifer and cow fertility and the sex ratio

Riccardo Negrini, Giovanni Bittante, Matteo Bergamaschi, Alessio Cecchinato, Hugo Toledo-Alvarado

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivistapeer review

7 Citazioni (Scopus)

Abstract

Using sexed semen to produce purebred replacement heifers makes it possible to mate a large proportion of dairy cows to double-muscled sires and to quantitatively and qualitatively improve beef production and increase the income from dairy herds. Net profit first depends on changes in the farm's overall fertility rate. The objective of this study was to analyze the conception rate in herds using a combination of conventional dairy semen (for pure- and crossbreeding), X-sorted dairy semen (to produce purebred replacement heifers), and conventional beef semen (for terminal crossbreeding). Data were obtained from 50,785 inseminations of 15,580 dairy cows (78% Holstein-Friesian, 15% Brown Swiss, 2% Simmental, and 5% crossbreds) from 106 dairy farms (average milk yield 35.1 ± 9.4 kg/d, with 3.76 ± 0.83% fat and 3.32 ± 0.39% protein contents). To account for the main potential confounders, we used separate generalized linear mixed-effects models for cows and virgin heifers. The results showed that the odds ratio of conception improved (1.00 to 1.34) with an increase in the average milk yield of the herd but worsened (1.12 to 0.70) with an increase in the milk yield of individual cows within herd. The summer months showed a strong reduction in the odds ratio of conception in cows (0.56 in July and August) but not in virgin heifers. Multiparous cows had a lower odds ratio of conception (0.85) than primiparous cows (1.00). The order of insemination did not affect the fertility of the cows or heifers, whereas the odds ratio of conception improved with advancing lactation (1.00 to 2.12). The Simmental cows were more fertile than Holstein-Friesians (1.37 vs. 1.00), whereas the fertility of the heifers was not affected by breed. Taking all these possible confounders into account simultaneously, in pure-breeding the odds ratio of conception using sexed semen did not differ from that using conventional dairy semen in cows (0.90 vs. 1.00) or in virgin heifers (0.95 vs. 1.00). However, crossbreeding using conventional beef and dairy semen improved the odds ratio of conception (1.10 and 1.17, respectively) in cows (1.37 using beef semen) and heifers (1.25 using dairy semen). The proportion of newborn heifer calves was ≥90% using sexed dairy semen. The combined use of sexed semen, especially on heifers, to produce purebred replacement females and beef semen to produce terminal crossbred calves was shown to have the potential to increase overall herd fertility, which could be further improved using sexed dairy semen to produce dairy crossbreds instead of purebred replacement heifers.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)5246-5257
Numero di pagine12
RivistaJournal of Dairy Science
Volume103
DOI
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2020

Keywords

  • beef cross
  • Sex Ratio
  • heat stress on fertility
  • replacement heifer
  • X-sorted semen
  • Animal Husbandry
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Dairying
  • Female
  • Male
  • Semen
  • Sex Preselection
  • Fertility
  • Hybridization, Genetic
  • dairy breed

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