As the dairy industry continues to evolve many farmers are looking to reduce waste and therefore increase profitability of the average dairy farm. One particular waste issue for many dairy farmers is bobbie calves. For many dairy farmers bobbie calf wastage can be easily solved using quality beef genetics. By turning bobbie calves into viable dairy beef calves the industry looks to decrease waste, support the New Zealand beef industry and increase profits. There are many breeds capable of producing quality dairy beef solutions however one breed in particular stands out from the crowd. Belgian Blue who are widely known overseas for their double muscling, beef quality, short gestation and calving ease is a breed that has a lot to offer New Zealand dairy farms.


Belgian Blue beef is well know for its impressive muscling which is commonly referred to as “double muscling”. Belgian Blue outclasses all other beef breed in carcass yield (up to 80%). When crossbreed with other dairy or beef breeds, it increases carcass yield by approximately 7% compared to the maternal line. Research has shown that Belgian Blues possess a gene which suppresses the production of myostatin. This is a protein that normally inhibits muscle growth after a certain point. Pure Belgian Blues carry two copies of this gene; in crossbreeding, one copy is usually transmitted and serves to increase carcass weight in the offspring of a cross-breeding program.


Earlier this week we headed out to see Adrian and Pauline Ball (local dairy farmers) running a herd of around 300 Friesian cows in the Waikato region. Adrian first made the decision to use quality beef genetics as a way of reducing bobbie calf wastage and increasing profits on his dairy farm. Adrian remarks that since making this decision they have not had a single bobbie calf and believe that moving forward using dairy beef is going to be key to removing bobbie calf wastage, supporting New Zealands beef industry and increasing profits. Adrian has crossed the Belgian Blue over his bottom production Friesian cows and due to the Belgian Blues easy calving has not had to assist a single birth. The short gestation of the Belgian Blue has meant extra days in milk and Moving forward Adrian and Pauline will look to increase this percentage to as high at 50% as carrying these guys through has proven to be on par with milking extra cows. Adrian and Pauline look to process these particular Belgian Blue before Christmas this year which will be around 18 months old. We will check back in with their final results once this has all gone through.


Belgian Blue has a lot to offer the dairy beef industry in New Zealand, Samen has been extensively testing and running a breeding program with Belgian Blue. This program has given us access to the shortest gestation Belgian Blue bulls in the world with super easy calving. Each breed has a time and place so much sure you give us a call to discuss how you can optimise your dairy beef genetics. Contact Craig Mckimmie on 027 315 2740.

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