I ask this question because as you are likely well aware that holsteins are beginning to decline in pedigree depth, health, productive life, and other factors. In your project do you see the Holstein breed losing the top number of dairy cows to another breed such as jerseys or even better, brown swiss? I feel between (at least in the U.S.) losing small family farms and more large dairies of 1,000+ cows traits such as productive life, longevity, and etc are becoming the factor that could cause this change.
Genetic-wise, do you see holsteins losing their “top-choice” when selecting a breed for milk production?
Great question. My thinking is that commercial cows in the future will have genes from several breeds, maybe there will be composite lines, focused on commercial dairy farms. With genomics and potentially gene editing to move existing genes, it will be easier to see this happen. Already there are composites such as the Kiwi-Cross in New Zealand that are replacing purebred Holsteins and Jerseys. If we simply started putting more emphasis on Energy Corrected Milk instead of yield, we might see a change. I recently put together a list of the top 10 ECM cows in Holstein, Brown Swiss, Jersey and Guernsey breeds in the USA. Among the top 10 cows, there were 5 Holsteins and 5 Brown Swiss. The Holstein that just made 77,000 lbs of milk ranked No. 1 for milk yield, but number 16 for ECM yield.
You make a great point! Sadly it’s the same here. Do I think large genetics companies here in the U.S. have the same thoughts as the studs for the wool sheep? I really don’t know. When I worked for a large breeding company and then was a GM for another I really didn’t see that kind of perspective but you never know! We should always learn from what’s going on in the world with the same industry and also other commodities such as wool, beef, etc.
I am really pleased what you all have to say and your input. This is how I learn and become in tune with what is going on in the world!
“Breeds were made by man, not nature”. I will use those exact words in my teaching. Don’t know why I did not think of them myself!
We have many factors affecting the consistency of milk yield in Holstein Friesian, Pure breed of Holstein Frisian will still maintain its productivity provided it is in its natural habitat, but researches exist in order to get better breed, nothing is constant in research, change and discoveries are made daily.