Journal of NACAA

Beef x Dairy Crossbreeding Practices and Management of the Resulting Calves on Wisconsin Dairy Farms

ISSN 2158-9429

Volume 16, Issue 2 - December 2023

Editor: Linda Chalker-Scott


Extension educators surveyed 40 Wisconsin dairy producers known to breed dairy females to beef sires to gain knowledge of on-farm beef x dairy crossbreeding and calf management practices. The survey consisted of questions about beef sire selection criteria, selection of dairy females to breed to beef sires, newborn calf management, and how they market their beef x dairy cattle. Conception rate, calving ease, and semen cost were the top three sire selection criteria used by dairy producers for beef sire selection, leaving opportunities to incentivize sire selection criteria for carcass and growth traits. All producers reported feeding colostrum within the first 12 hours of birth; however, 32.5% of producers fed less than 4 quarts of colostrum at first feeding. Sixty-five percent of producers marketed their beef x dairy crossbred calves at one week or less of age, with the remaining 35% marketing their beef x dairy crossbred calves at a few weeks of age on up to finished weights. Results identified the potential for the dairy and beef industries to better collaborate on beef x dairy crossbred sire selection for feedlot performance and carcass traits. The survey also identified the need for further investigation into neonatal calf care practices for beef x dairy crossbred calves.

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