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Production level, fertility, health traits, and longevity in local and commercial dairy breeds under organic production conditions in Austria, Switzerland, Poland, and Sweden

Bieber, Anna; Wallenbeck, Anna; Leiber, Florian; Fuerst-Waltl, Birgit; Winckler, Christoph; Gullstrand, Patricia; Walczak, Jacek; Wójcik, Piotr and Spengler Neff, Anet (2019) Production level, fertility, health traits, and longevity in local and commercial dairy breeds under organic production conditions in Austria, Switzerland, Poland, and Sweden. Journal of Dairy Science, 102, pp. 5330-5341.

[thumbnail of Bieber_etal_2019_JDS_Vol102_p5330-5341.pdf] PDF - Published Version - English
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Document available online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30954255


Our aim was to map the performance of local (native) dairy cattle breeds in Austria, Switzerland, Poland, and Sweden with regard to production, fertility, longevity, and health-associated traits and to compare them with commercial (modern) breeds. For this purpose, we analyzed test-day records (July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2014) and treatment records (Austria, Sweden) of cows managed on organic farms. We performed country-wise comparisons of 123,415 lactations from Original Braunvieh (OB) and Grey Cattle (AL) with Braunvieh (BV; Brown Swiss blood >60%) in Switzerland; AL with BV (Brown Swiss blood >50%) in Austria; Polish Black and White (ZB), Polish Red and White (ZR), and Polish Red (RP) with Polish Holstein Friesian (PHF) in Poland; and Swedish Red (SRB) with Swedish Holstein (SH) in Sweden. Average milk yields were substantially lower for local compared with commercial breeds in all countries; differences ranged from 750 kg (Sweden) to 1,822 kg (Austria), albeit on very different average levels. Local breeds showed a longer productive lifetime by 0.64, 0.83, 1.42, and 0.20 lactations in Switzerland, Austria, Poland, and Sweden, respectively, again on very different levels in each country. Regarding fertility traits, calving interval was shorter in local than in commercial breeds by 13 (Sweden), 14 (Switzerland), and 20 d (Austria, Poland). Insemination index was lower in certain local breeds by 0.15 (Switzerland), 0.14 (Austria), 0.21 (Poland), and 0.13 (Sweden). Several local breeds showed a lower proportion of cows with >100,000 somatic cells/mL. This was the case in Switzerland (OB 24.2%; BV 35.8%), Austria (AL 25.3%; BV 36.9%), and Sweden (SRB 42.4%; SH 43.4%). In contrast, the respective proportion in Poland exceeded 82% in all breeds except the commercial PHF (76.1%). In Sweden, lactations with veterinary treatments were considerably less prevalent in SRB (15.6%) than in SH (21.7%). In Austria, breeds differed only in treatments for udder disorders, which favored AL. In conclusion, the markedly lower milk yields of local breeds are partly counterbalanced by (somewhat inconsistent) advantages in longevity, fertility, and health traits across 4 European countries. This indicates that the robustness of local breeds can contribute to improved sustainability of organic dairy systems.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:local dairy breed, longevity, organic agriculture, robustness, Core Organic Plus, Organic Dairy Health
Agrovoc keywords:
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems > Dairy cattle
Animal husbandry > Breeding and genetics
Animal husbandry > Health and welfare
Research affiliation:Austria > Univ. BOKU Wien
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Animal > Animal health
European Union > CORE Organic Plus > ORGANICDAIRYHEALTH
Sweden > Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)
Deposited By: Bieber, Anna
ID Code:35441
Deposited On:17 May 2019 08:07
Last Modified:26 May 2021 14:07
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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