Swiss College of Agriculture, Zollikofen

The suitability for fattening of various strains of Holstein Friesian calves

To determine their suitability for fattening, 11 male New-Zealand Holstein Friesian calves and 26 Swiss Holstein Friesian calves underwent a comparative study within the framework of a Bachelor Thesis at the Swiss College of Agriculture SHL. Both test groups were held and fed under the same conditions for 100 days. The calves had free access to a pure milk powder-water mixture throughout the entire duration of the test via an automatic feeder. In addition, the calves were given maize silage ad libitum as of the 17th day. This was supplemented with a mineral preparation and a salt lick. The weight gains of New-Zealand calves were comparable to those of Swiss calves, although average weight gains for the Swiss calves were approximately 130 g higher. This affected the development of the average live weight and the final weight of the Swiss calves. However, the differences were not statistically significant. The New-Zealand calves reached a considerably lower forefoot weight, which points to a lower bone content of the carcasses, and an advantage for the buyer. For both groups, carcasses were classified from T+3 to T-3 according to the CH-TAX-system, with slight advantages for the New Zealand calves.

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