America’s dairy cattle have always been one source in the beef supply chain. In recent years, this source of beef has been evolving due to a convergence of factors. Sexed semen has been revolutionary in dairy cattle, where breeders can target replacement heifers from their best cows and breed the remainder for beef production.
Before sexed semen, the feeding of straight Holstein steers was common, and although this practice remains, there has been a movement towards less demand for these from packers, increasing incentives for breeding dairy cows to beef bulls. Jerseys are gaining market share but their straight Jersey male calves have very little value, making beef breedings even more attractive. Low milk prices and contraction in the dairy industry reduces the demand for surplus replacements, again pushing the incentive for more beef matings.
When it comes to picking a beef bull for mating dairy cows, Angus sires have been the preferred choice among dairy farmers. With this in mind, the American Angus Association Board of Directors set in place a project for Angus Genetics Inc. (AGI) to reengage with the consulting firm AbacusBio to develop dollar value indexes ($Values) as specific crossbreeding tools for Angus bulls on dairy cows. With a lot of Angus genetics getting used in the dairy industry, it would seem prudent to present tools to allow the most profitable genetics to be identified. This project was initiated in September 2019, and the two new $Values were released in July 2020. $Angus-on-Holstein value ($AxH) and $Angus-on-Jersey value ($AxJ) are now available to help dairy farmers identify the most profitable Angus sires for those markets.
Holstein Angus Cross are a breed of cattle known today as the world’s highest-production dairy animals. Originating in Europe, Friesians were bred in what is now the Netherlands and more specifically in the two northern provinces of North Holland and Friesland, and northern Germany, more specifically what is now Schleswig-Holstein. The animals were the regional cattle of the Frisians and the Saxons. The Dutch breeders bred and oversaw the development of the breed with the goal of obtaining animals that could best use grass, the area’s most abundant resource. Over the centuries, the result was a high-producing, black-and-white dairy cow. It is black and white due to artificial selection by the breeders.
With the current state of the dairy industry many producers are looking to earn extra money by selling animals into the beef market. However, it is important to remember that not all animals are created equally. It is important to spend some time selecting either the beef bull or beef semen you are going to breed to, if you want to get the most out of your investment. The goal of a dairy-on-beef breeding system is to make a dairy calf look as much like a beef calf as possible. This is not a new concept, producers have bred to beef for a number of reasons in the past. However, the goal in the past was to end up with a lactating dairy animal, and the value of the calf was not of primary concern.
Holsteins have distinctive markings and outstanding milk production. They are large, black-and-white marked animals that vary from mostly black to mostly white, or they can also be red and white. They stand 147 cm (58 inches) tall at the shoulder
- Height: 147 cm (58) inches tall at the shoulder
- Weight: appr. 580 kg (1280 pounds)
- Lifespan: 4 – 10 years
- Diet: Hay
- Gestation period: between 29months
- No. of offspring: 1-2
Holstein Angus Cross Price