Crossbreeding programs with Norwegian Red

Time to read: ca 1 min

Crossbreeding systems should make use of breeds optimal for conditions at each specific dairy operation.

Norwegian Red x Holstein. Photo: Elly Geverink

You can use two or three breeds in your crossbreeding rotation with Norwegian Red. 

Two-way rotational crossbreeding program

Norwegian Red X Holstein

Norwegian Red and Holstein breeds complement each other as the Holstein cow has been acknowledged as the dominant dairy breed for over 30 years due to her high milk production, while the Norwegian Red excels in calf viability, female fertility, and disease resistance.

This is a rotational crossbreeding system, whereby the Holstein and the Norwegian Red breeds are used alternately to produce the next generation. Thus, F1 heifers from Norwegian Red sires should be mated to purebred Holstein bulls; their progeny to Norwegian Red; the progeny of those to Holstein; and so on.

This program will give:

  • Excellent fertility, calving ease, and survival
  • Increased resistance to mastitis and other diseases
  • Great feet and legs
  • Similar solids production to Holsteins

Photo of NRFxH Diagram

Three-way rotational crossbreeding programs

In three-way rotational crossbreeding programs we recommend either Jersey or Fleckvieh as a third breed. Jersey adds smaller cows with high milk solids, good health, and excellent calving ease to the rotation. Fleckvieh is a dual-purpose breed (dairy and beef), developed for strong and durable cows.

Norwegian Red X Holstein X Jersey

This program will give:

  • Improved calving ease
  • Improved fertility
  • Increased percentages of fat and protein
  • Smaller sized cow for increased feed efficiency

Photo of JxHxNR diagram

Norwegian Red X Holstein X Fleckvieh

  • This program will give:
  • Stronger more durable cows plus increased income from bull calves and cull cows
  • Very good milk, fat, and protein yields
  • Improved fertility and survival
  • Moderate stature and strong cows

Photo of NRxHxFL diagram

Breeds to use in crossbreeding

  • Norwegian Red (NR): A high producing dairy breed from Norway. Developed for functionality and production. Superior for health and fertility.
  • Holstein (H): Most common dairy breed worldwide with very high production, excellent udders and type.
  • Jersey (J): Smaller cows with high milk solids, good health and excellent calving ease.
  • Fleckvieh (F): Dual purpose breed (dairy and beef) developed for strong and durable cows. 

Breeds used in our crossbreeding programs:

  • Norwegian Red (NR): A high producing dairy breed from Norway. Developed for functionality and production. Superior for health and fertility.
  • Holstein (H): Most common dairy breed worldwide with very high production, excellent udders and type.
  • Jersey (J): Smaller cows with high milk solids, good health and excellent calving ease.
  • Fleckvieh (F): Dual purpose breed (dairy and beef) developed for strong and durable cows.