The objective of the study was to compare, within pasture-based seasonal-calving systems, the production and reproduction performances of Swiss Holstein-Friesian (CH HF), Fleckvieh (CH FV) and Brown Swiss (CH BS) dairy cows with New Zealand Holstein-Friesian (NZ HF) dairy cows, taken as reference for such systems. From 2007 to 2009, NZ HF cows were paired with Swiss cows on 15 Swiss commercial farms, including in total 259 lactations from 134 cows. CH HF and NZ HF cows had better milk performance than CH FV and CH BS (50,2 and 52,1 kg ECM/kg LW0,75 versus 44,3 and 43,6 kg; P < 0,05). The CH FV cows had the best reproduction performance, tending to have more pregnant cows 6 weeks after the planned start of mating than the CH HF cows (81 % versus 46 %, P < 0,10), N cows compromised their suitability for pasturebased seasonal-calving systems. Conversely the dual-purpose CH FV were less efficient in term of milk production but seem to be suitable for these systems owing their good reproductive performance.
Which cow for pasture-based production systems?: Production, reproduction and health