Agroscope, Institute for Plant Production Sciences IPS, 1260 Nyon, Switzerland

Milk production in New Zealand: A model for Switzerland?

On a group of 95 heifers of the Fleckvieh / Red Holstein and Brown Swiss breeds, growth, fertility and first lactation culling decisions werde studied. Calf rearing, feeding and housing were according to current practice in Switzerland. The heifers were first bred relatively late, at 20,3 months average. When subdivided by calving age, the growth pattern shows that early inseminated animals are able to catch up on a weight difference during gestation and also during first lactation. Fertility results at first insemination were good, but those in first lactation were below average, but at both there is no evidence of any influence of rearing intensity. Culling decisions during first lactation mainly reflect selection made at that moment: the majority of culls is determined by insatisfactory performance.

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