Experience Normande genetics
Another breeding season is here, along with a new opportunity to experience Normande genetics. Please take a look at our Fall 2014 indexes and, if it's your first time, take a leap of faith! Whether you graze or not, crossing with Normande offers many benefits. Check our the various pages of our website for more details about the breed's many strong qualities. See more information on our catalog page on how to choose our bulls. As usual, graziers are advised to focus on bulls with low stature indexes for medium size cows if they cross with Holsteins. Low stature is less important if you cross with Jerseys. Finally, do not forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for quicker and more frequent news updates.
Strength and added value : a good choice for crossbreeding and purebred
Normande Genetics was created in 1997 to bring the top dairy genetics of the Normande breed to the American dairyland. Because the U.S. dairy industry had long since cut its grass roots in favor of intensive, high-energy, grain-based systems, we believed that genetics here were no longer well suited to grass-based operations. That insight has been confirmed consistently in interactions with American dairy farmers, whose herds are suffering loss of functionality in fertility and longevity, owing to over-selection for productivity, and secondarily, “dairyness.”
Originally focused on grazing daires, we quickly realize that the need for different genetics applies to all dairies, and includes conventional ones. Intensive operations are increasingly faced with fertility and health issues, and many of these issues can be attributed to frail genetics or inbreeding.
While the U.S. dairy sire selection process has started to move towards improving functional traits, it will take time to see results in the field. In addition, in-breeding and a narrowing gene pool for most dairy breeds worldwide add to the problem, so there is no easy and short-term answer to the weakening of health traits.
That’s why crossbreeding makes sense. After all, dairy farmers want to lower their cost of operation while increasing their revenue, which means profits and margins replace production as the main benchmarks of success. In turn, genetic traits that contribute to the bottom line become essential, while selecting for milk production becomes relatively less important. For more information about why crossbreeding is a useful tool, you can download this article:
The Normande’s traits serve the objectives of both grass-based and conventional operations in two ways: bringing strength and functionality while adding value whenever possible. The Normande has outstanding attributes as a purebred or in a cross-breeding program. The breed has shown successful examples with all U.S. dairy breeds and is often included in three-way crossbreeding programs. The University of Minnesota’s new experimental organic herd will include such a cross.
Normande is a breed, developed for centuries on the permanent pastures of Normandy and bred for high-quality dairy products. Therefore, when evaluating the breed’s genetic traits, the Normande excels in terms of both sustainability and added value criteria. And those are the two categories most relevant to today's dairy economy.