Monday, 23 March 2015

Successful crossbreeding in Uruguay

Innovation as a priority but also the workers’ team and good management have been the keys to the development of the farm “El Gato” in Soriano, Uruguay. Innovation has lead to a three-way crossbreeding program including VikingJersey, VikingRed and Holstein.

“El Gato” belongs to Enrique Utermark; breeder and member of Crea El Niño - a group of breeders, who aims to improve the efficiency of their farms with help of an agricultural technician.

The farm El Gato originally had Holstein cows, but then the owner considered the possibility of crossbreeding. Enrique started with VikingRed in 2004 as an innovation, but the clear aim was to improve the indexes for reproduction, calving ease, feet & legs etc. 

Currently, the herd produces an average of 8984 liters of milk per hectare of grazing (according to data from 2013/2014). The feeding base is 60% grazing, 28% concentrates and 12% silage and hay.

VikingRed like a dream

Enrique Utermark tells us: “The VikingRed breed must be the dream of every farmer. In my house it is a dream come true because they are strong cows, docile, long-living, with easy calving, good legs and udders and high indexes for milk production and solids.

All the problems with fertility, calving difficulties, cesarean births and illnesses are left behind and year after year these cows give us a calf. 

“I am very thankful to VikingGenetics for the selection method that they have been developing for more than 50 years. In all breeds they prioritize in the selection of traits that increase the profitability of the dairy business. This results in durable, medium-sized animals with good legs, high milk solids and good fertility - in short animals that live longer and are more profitable. We can start to inseminate the heifers at 13 months of age without any problems during pregnancy and they are very precocious in fertility”, Enrique says.

VikingJersey three-way crosses

Last year the first three-ways crossbreeds with VikingJersey started to milk. I am really surprised of these crossbred animals; they have high production with good udder attachments. I also want to highlight the docility of the animals in all stages of the breeding, which makes the management much easier in general. The calves are very easy to raise and learn easily to drink milk”.

“I carry out my dairy in an area of 125 hectares. Currently I have 198 cows in milk, 9 dry cows and 50 pregnant heifers to calve this autumn. Calvings are concentrated 80% in autumn/winter and 20% in spring. The females born in spring are all sold because of surplus of the replacement. This is on the contrary of what happened in the beginning of my farming, when I needed to buy pregnant heifers every year, because I did not have enough replacements” Enrique says.

Today the farm “El Gato” is a reference for many Uruguayan breeders that want to start crossbreeding since they can see the obtained development in the farm in all these years.

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