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Stackyard News Jan 05
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New Norstein Crossbreed Presents Solution to UK Dairy Farmers 28/01/05

UK producers were this week presented with a solution to one of the biggest challenges facing UK dairy farmers today - how to achieve optimum health and fertility traits and optimum yield on a sustainable and long-term basis.

In a series of workshops carried out across the country leading AI company, Green Acres, introduced the Norstein - a completely new hybrid which trials in the United States have shown delivers major cost savings through significantly lower stillbirth rates, easier calving, and lower disease incidence. Additionally, the Norstein is coming out on top for milk production and fat and protein (kg and percentage).

The Norstein is bred by crossing the Holstein with the Norwegian Red

The Norstein is bred by crossing the Holstein with the Norwegian Red - a premium breed now available to UK producers for the first time thanks to an exclusive distribution arrangement between Green Acres and Norwegian company, Geno Global. Through this agreement, Green Acres has secured sole rights to market Norwegian Red semen in GB and Ireland.

Led by Jason Kean, Customer Service Manager with Green Acres, the workshops featured breeding experts, Dr. Ted Burnside and Egil Hersleth from Geno Global, who discussed the benefits of the new Norstein crossbreed.

"The majority of farmers attending weren't new to crossbreeding," Jason explained, "but had come to the workshops to find a truly long-term breeding solution. Producers are finding that generational crossbreeding of the Holstein with traditional out-crosses is causing a dilution of the Holstein's high yielding strain. In other words, they are finding it difficult to maximise health and fertility traits and yield on a sustainable and long-term basis.

"Through the Norstein and the continuous crossbreeding programme we have developed to support it, Green Acres is now able to offer UK farmers a new and improved breeding solution."

Dr. Ted Burnside, Technical Advisor for Geno Global, explained, "By rotating breeding of the Norstein between the Norwegian Red and the Holstein sires over alternate generations, the continuous cross-breeding scheme will ensure that each succeeding generation of cross-bred females is as productive as the last. This way the Norstein will continue to excel in high fertility, vitality and disease resistance, producing trouble free cattle over many generations."

Jason Kean concluded, "We have received tremendous feedback from the local farmers who identified the Norstein as an opportunity to get cross-breeding back on track with the right genetic package. Many were eager to commence using the Norwegian Red elite sires in their cross-breeding plans and are already placing orders with us at Green Acres."

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Jennifer MacKenzie
Article by
Jennifer MacKenzie