– Dr. Gustavo M. Schuenemann, Professor and Extension Veterinarian, Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, The Ohio State University
Many dairy herds are implementing a beef-dairy crossbreeding program for all or a portion of their lactating cows in order to add value to newborn calves. In beef cattle, there is a moderate to high correlation between heritability of growth traits and their genetic correlations with birth weight (e.g., yearling body weight has a heritability of 58% and a correlation with birth weight of 0.61). Although there are several considerations such as market for beef-dairy cross calves, replacement heifers needed, and calf death losses due to dystocia and the subsequent survival and performance of lactating cows, the potential for added value by implementing a beef-dairy crossbreeding program must not neglect the potential to increase calving difficulty due to increased birth weights.
A case study using data from a beef-dairy crossbreeding program was developed to illustrate a systematic approach to assess calf death losses. The case study was developed for educational purposes; and the information may or may not be applicable to other situations. The overall objective was to assess calf death losses at calving for a 12-month period (March 2020 to March 2021). Therefore, the patterns of calf death losses were . . .
Continue reading Assessing Calf Death Losses in a Beef-Dairy Crossbreeding Program