Over half of the Norwegian Red calves born in Norway are born polled, which puts the Norwegian Red breed at #1-in-the-world for carrying the gene for polled. Demand for polled has been part of the success of export of Norwegian Red genetics to over 20 countries and for the push in other dairy breeds to increase their offerings of polled bulls.
A March 28th Associated Press article “Dairy Farmers Asked to Consider Breeding No-Horn Cows” describes polled cows to the general public as carrying the “dominant no-horn genetic trait.” The article also lists some food manufacturers, grocery-chain suppliers and restaurants that are showing a purchase preference for milk from polled dairy cattle.
The article cites Gary Corbett, the CEO of Fair Oaks Farms in Indiana, a Kroger supplier and one of the nation’s largest dairy farms with 36,000 cows, as phasing out horned milk cows. “About a quarter of its newborn calves are hornless due to selective use of bulls with the polled gene,” Corbett said. Fair Oaks began to breed for polled after genetics in polled bulls improved and there was proof that good traits like milk production weren’t being lost.
The very successful, steady climb in milk production in the Holstein breed over the last 40 years has been linked by many research studies to a steady drop in fertility – – fertility traits and milk production have been found to be negatively correlated genetically. The Norwegian Red breed has included fertility, increased resistance to diseases AND production in their breeding objectives since the 1970’s so it is getting noticed as a dairy herd improver for all of these important traits.
Get ahead of the coming polled revolution and give your herd and consumers improved cattle welfare by adding Norwegian Red to your breeding program.
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