Breeding scheme Description
The targeted mating of cattle can be divided into several steps. The basis is the breeding goal followed by performance testing, breeding value estimation and selection.
Artificial insemination is used as an important breeding instrument in order to be able to select from a large number of sires.
The insemination bulls come from the following herdbook populations:
• Simmental cattle in suckler cow husbandry Germany: 9794 herdbook cows
• Fleckvieh (Simmental) cattle in suckler cow husbandry Austria: 3971 herdbook cows
• Simmental cattle in dual use Austria and Germany (highly selective): 1 033 636 herdbook
• Simmental International – sires that appear interesting from the point of view of the breeding goal and originate from Simmental breeding populations outside Austria and Germany, for example from Australia.
Breeding goal Fleckvieh in suckler cow husbandry
In general, the aim is to breed a problem-free, fit mother cow that produces a valuable calf each year that can be fattened well.
In terms of body size and frame, the focus is on a good medium-framed cow, so that grazing suitability is given in alpine terrain and damage to the sward is kept within limits. Cattle with a long and deep metacarpus are preferred to ensure a high intake of forage. Animals with a very coarse bone structure are excluded from breeding. Animals with a smaller head and dark pigmentation are preferred in the selection. Aimed body weight of the cow: 650 to 750 kg.
Muscling in the back and hindquarters should be well developed. However, the mother cow should not lose her feminine character.
The foundations should be faultlessly formed. lightly angulated, dry hocks, tight pasterns, well closed claws with high heels are to be aimed for.
Hoof growth and wear should be in balance. Hoof care should not become the rule, but only the exception.
High-sitting udders with teats of medium size are aimed for. This makes it easier for newborn calves to find the teats, reduces the risk of udder soiling and the occurrence of mastitis. Deep thigh udder attachment is desirable.
The Fleckvieh suckler cow should reach a milk yield of 4000 to 5000 kg milk from the basic feed at a ten-month lactation. With a requirement of 10 kg milk for one kilogram live weight gain of the calves, weaning weights of over 400 kg can be expected. A lower milk yield would reduce the weaning weights, and too high a milk yield would lead to a reduction in body substance if only basic feed is consumed, and would also increase the risk of mastitis.
Daily gains of over 1400 grams are expected from male calves and over 1000 grams from female calves. In breeding work, great attention is paid to improving the trait commercial class classification. Slaughter animals should be classified exclusively in commercial classes E and U.
In order to meet the requirements of animal welfare, to keep the care effort low and to fulfil the prerequisites for economic production, the fitness traits are of great importance.
The following parameters are aimed for:
Cow service life: at least 10 calvings.
Persistenz: flat lactation curve to meet the milk requirement of the calf.
Fertility: inter-calving period less than 365 days, insemination index less than 1.5;
less than 10 % of cow exitis due to fertility problems;
Calving rate greater than 90 %.
Calving process: at least 90 % of calvings without human assistance;
Heavy birth rate less than 5 %, stillbirth rate less than 3 %.
In addition, animals with a low susceptibility to mastitis and claw diseases are preferred in the selection.
Another important trait is good temperament. Animals with good character traits make herd management much easier. The risk of injury to humans and animals is reduced.
The gene for hornlessness is integrated into the herd, taking fitness and performance into account.