The montbeliarde breed

The Montbeliardes origin is in the mountains of eastern France, and was officially registered as a pure breed in 1888. The tough climate of the mountains have shaped the Montbeliarde as a very hardy cow, able to cope with the coldest and hottest weather conditions, and with an excellent adaptation to all sorts of rearing systems. For centuries Montbeliarde breeders have also been cheese makers, and therefore always paid special attention to milk solids and udder health.

Montbeliarde Selection Program

The Coopex / Umotest selection programm is as modern as the best managent AI centre you can find worlwide. Bull dam selections is based on genomic selection as well on cow-family and inbreeding protection features. From the hunderds of young sires that enter each year the testing station almost half of them will be eliminated before semen production for sales purposes according to their results in growth, feed conversion, morphology, male fertility, quality of frozen semen, and updated breeding values of their parents. Montbeliarde breeding values are published 3 times a year, with a change of index base once a year.


  All lactations Equivalent in adult lactations
Number of results 415.552 374.558
Duration of lactation - days 310 331
Milk - kg 9.027 8.379
Solids - kg 504 602
Solids Content - g/kg 71,7 71,8
Protein - kg 230 275
Protein Content - g/kg 3,44 3,44
Fat - kg 274 327
Butterfat Content - g/kg 3,89 3,90


High Fertility

The Montbéliarde breed is the most fertile breed in the world. The rump structure from the Montbéliarde cow is ideal. They always have a nice slope to the rump and a high tail implantation. This is the main reason that the Montbéliardes are easy calving cows. Because of the strong, wide body’s and muscles this is a cow that always shows a good condition. The Montbéliarde cows have good energy balance. They are slow starters but keep producing, also in the second part of their lactation. It is in the breeds nature to show a good persistence.

Meanwhile the University of Minnesota in the USA has shown the results of an investigation. It turns out that the Montbéliarde breed has more female hormones than the Holstein breed. Their rump structure, wide, robust frame and persistence are the mean reasons for the good fertility from the Montbéliarde cow.



Pure bred Montbéliarde cow.

Throughout human history the milk from the Montbéliarde cow has been used to make cheese. For example; it is only allowed to make the well known Comté-cheese from purebred Montbéliardes. One small detail; the feed intake of the cows can not include silage (grass and/or corn), because the substances that appear have a negative effect on the preparation process of the Comté cheese. Basically, it means cows can only eat fresh grass or hay and crushed grain. Does a farmer meets these strong required requests, his reward is € 0,10 per kg of milk!

Kappa-caseine BB

The Montbéliarde milk has a low percentage of vet and a high level of protein. Therefore this milk is very appropriate to make concumption milk and other milk products, especially cheese because of the high Kappa-caseine B level. The last 5 year the percentage of Kappa BB in the Montbéliarde population went up 14.3%. At this moment 50% of the female population has the Kappa-B Allele. For most Montbéliarde bulls you can find their specific Kappa-caseine breeding level. More recently also the Beta Casein was introduced for selection.

Strong breed

Cull-cows; more value

The Montbéliarde is a breed that shows extra muscle. This makes the cow stronger. A Montbéliarde cow does has problems sometimes but, instead of a Holstein cow, she will not show this as much. She has more tendency to keep eating and walking. The frontend of the Montbéliarde cow is wide en deep, just as her flank. The rear-end is also wide, especially between the hips. That extra muscle is a benefit, and the Montbéliarde users make more money out of selling (bull)calves and cull-cows. Bull calves often make € 25,- extra, and Montbéliarde cows that have to be culled often make an extra € 300,-.

More Muscle 

The bull calves have more muscle and classify higher. Muscles are not a breeding goal of the Montbéliarde breed, but the France do adjust a certain value to animals that produce more “meat”. To ensure the right bulls enter AI-stations they will test the bulls on growth, muscle and feed conversion. Based on these results 50% of the youngbulls will not be tested. A lot of dairy farmers in France do not have heifer calves. They buy purebred Montbéliardes as pregnant heifers. On these dairy farms all animals will be inseminated with a meat bull.

Low cell count

The udders of the Montbéliarde have good quality and structure. The udder cleft is strong, but the udder will get a little more volume after several lactations, altough not as much as we know from Holstein cows. In France there has been a research to mastitis resistance from Holstein and Montbéliarde cows. At the end of this research they had to conclude that cell count of the Montbéliardes was 35% lower than that from Holsteins. Fighting mastitis is a big, but necessary costs post at every dairy farm. A breed that, from their own nature, has a healthier udder is very interesting. Especially for farmers with a organic way of farming.

Montbéliarde x Holstein

Prod.: 305 days: 14.120 kg milk, cell count 22, Production: 30% above herd average