Richard Waugh’s Three Way Cross Success.

“We use VikingReds as a Three Way Cross in our crossbred herd the VikingReds continue to perform in the top 5 percent of the herd alongside the high BW NZ genetics” – Richard Waugh, Dairy Farmer, Matamata, Waikato, New Zealand.

Hayden Ferriman’s Three Way Cross Perspective.

Why Three Way Cross?


A three-breed rotational crossbreeding system utilising Holstein Friesian, Jersey & VikingRed. An effective crossbreeding programme suitable for all systems, with emphasis on pasture-based like New Zealand.

The majority of New Zealand Dairy Farmers have seen the benefit of a two-way cross. In a two way cross generally Holstein Friesian and Jerseys are used. The first generation of the two-way cross cows offer improvements, but farmers find that the benefits level out or even deteriorate going into generation 2 and 3. The best solution to continue increasing the herds profitability is to put a breeding system in designed to sustain Heterosis.

The goal of any crossbreeding program is to utilise Heterosis. Heterosis is the increase of favourable characteristics in the hybrid animals over their parents. Heterosis occurs when two unrelated breeds are crossed. By using a Three Way Cross you can achieve steady heterosis of 86% in your herd.
Using the VikingRed as your third breed results in a herd of medium sized cows that have optimum health and fertility. Due to their economical frame size and strong feet with dark hooves they are suitable to walk long distances from pasture to the dairy shed. This is why we have selected the VikingRed as the ultimate third breed for the Three Way Cross here in New Zealand.

The VikingReds Bring Superior Health Traits.


The VikingReds have been selected as the perfect third breed for New Zealand’s crossbred cows. The selection of this third breed has been made for vital economic reasons and has also taken future allowances for the impending ban of ‘Dry Cow Therapy’ in 2030

The VikingReds have been tracking animal health data for over 40 years now. With collecting this information, they have been able to make breeding decisions and select for health traits such as Mastitis Resistance and Udder Health. For this reason, the VikingRed with its Superior Health traits will reduce antibiotic use and prepare your farming operation for any law changes brought in.

The VikingReds Bring Fertility and Production for Grazing Based Systems.


In addition, the VikingReds have also been selected to bring superior Fertility and Production traits on grazing systems. This has already been proven both on NZ dairy farms and International dairy farms.

To top it off recent international studies have also shown that the VikingReds are superior to Holsteins in grazing systems. This has not yet been recognized by NZ merit rating systems as there has been no recent studies conducted in New Zealand. We can however see the economic advantage of the Scandinavian Red clear as day by simply talking to some of the farmers currently farming Scandinavian Reds in NZ.

Backed By Research

A study conducted by Dairy Australia, the national service body for the Australian dairy industry compared the different crossbreds and purebred herds on a pasture-based system. In the latest study, published in 2019, the entity analysed data from more than 23 million lactation records from almost 900,000 cows on more than 18,000 farms.

The study showed that in terms of the three-way cross, there is no significant difference in the volume of milk when compared to two crosses; however, there is a list of benefits you can count on when using this strategy. The protein and fat percentages, the survival (how long the cows are in the herd), conception rate (CR), the six weeks In Calf Rate (6wICR) of the three breed cows outperformed the backcross animals (two cross-system).

Along With A Series of New Zealand Dairy Farmers We Visited Josh Philp’s(Originally A Kiwi) Pasture Based Three Way Cross Herds in Australia.

Three Way Cross
Diagram from “Crossbreeding in Australia, what have we learnt?” See the full article at the link below.