Geno is the world leader in selection for polled genetics. About 40% of Norwegian Red calves born in Norway are polled. Homozygous polled Norwegian Red bulls with competitive breeding values are available.
While dehorning may be a routine operation on most dairy farms, there are also significant costs associated. These costs vary a great deal depending on the size of the dairy farm, personnel employed to carry out the dehorning and the equipment utilized. The most difficult cost to ascertain is the effects of dehorning on the calf itself. Dehorning cattle via genetics - using semen from polled sires - is a cost effective and animal welfare appropriate practice.
Proven Homozygous polled (PP) Norwegian Red bulls are available internationally through Geno's partners and distributors.
Dehorning by insemination
In cattle, horns are inherited as an autosomal recessive gene with polled being dominant. Homozygous for the polled condition refers to a bull carrying two copies of the dominant polled gene resulting in all offspring being born polled.
One mating to a polled sire results in an average of minimum 50% hornless calves (sire with one copy of polled gene) and could be 100% (sire is homozygous polled). This is the most efficient way to avoid de-horning and focus on animal welfare.
The polled gene in the Norwegian Red population comes from three of the eight local Norwegian breeds that were merged together over 75 years ago.
Use Norwegian Red sires in your dairy crossbreeding program to:
- Increase the number of polled calves
- Avoid de-horning
- Focus on animal welfare
There are additional genes that affect horn-like growth, scurs, on an animal's head. Scurs are incompletely developed horns, which are generally loose and movable beneath the skin, not attached to the skull. They range in size from small scab-like growths to occasionally almost as large as horns. In some animals partial fusion to the skull with age has been observed.
Because the gene for scurs is transmitted separately it has no effect on the presence or absence of horns. Not all horned cattle carry the gene for scurs and not all polled cattle lack scur gene.