Dr. Les Hansen writes on inbreeding within the Holstein breed
The concern about inbreeding and its effects is a major reason for dairy producers’ increased interest in milking ProCROSS cows in their commercial herds. Today’s rate of inbreeding increase per generation in the Holstein breed far surpasses the United Nations FAO recommendation for a closed population of a production livestock species.
In the article below, Dr. Les Hansen, Professor of Dairy Cattle Genetics at the University of Minnesota, describes the decline in genetic diversity within the Holstein breed in recent years. Furthermore, Dr. Hansen highlights the long-term and permanent impact of allowing only five bulls and their descendants dominate a breed.
ProCROSS is the continuous rotation of three complementary and unrelated pure dairy breeds: Montbeliarde from Coopex, VikingRed, and VikingHolstein. ProCROSS provides immediate relief from any detrimental effects of inbreeding. Hybrid vigor—the opposite of inbreeding depression—is experienced in every generation of ProCROSS and is a reason ProCROSS herds around the globe experience a boost in feed efficiency, higher profitability, and enhanced sustainability compared with purebred herds.
The following article was originally printed in MIDWEST HOLSTEINS (Summer 2021 ed., pp. 12-14), and is reprinted with their permission.