Evaluating Normande, U.S. Purebreds, and Normande Crossbreds on Production, Reproductive Performance, Survivability, and Partitioning of Energy During Periods of High and Low Pasture Availability
Significant progress has been made since receiving the SARE grant in September, including attendance of Normande field days in Massachusetts and contacting Normande farms throughout the Northeast. Normande field days was an educational meeting that helped to educate myself about the Normande breed better and also to identify the unique set of assets that the Normande has to offer. During the meeting I was also able to meet with several producers from several Northeastern states including Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, and Vermont to learn about their farming practices. Contacting Normande farms throughout the Northeast was done by working with Normande Genetics to locate herds in the Northeast that had Normande and Normande crossbreds and that had pedigree information and were also on DHIA testing. Finally, after locating several herds in the Northeast we have begun to collect DHIA information from them and have set up a farm visit to obtain Body Condition Score (BCS) during the first week of January.
1. Evaluate interactions of Normande, U.S. pure breeds, and Normande crossbred cattle with varying levels of grazing and concentrate supplementation on milk, fat, and protein yield, reproductive performance and survival in Northeast grazing herds.
•Began collecting DHIA information on eight herds in the Northeast with records including pedigree, milk production, and survival.
2. Determine if crossbreeding with Normande affects partitioning of energy during periods of high and low pasture availability.
•Set up herd visits for the eight participating farms to BCS animals and to determine the rate of supplementation that the cattle are receiving in addition to pasture/hay.
To date, I have contacted over 30 farms that have Normande or Normande crossbreds, resulting in 8 farms that were currently on DHIA testing and have pedigree records for approximately 100 Normande crossbreds and 300 purebred herd-mates. We have begun to collect DHIA information on these herds and with data being prepared to be entered into a SAS database. Additionally, working with the producers farm visits have been set up for the first week of January to visit the farm to BCS the animals and obtain information on the amount of supplementation that the cattle are receiving. This visit is the first of four visits that will be done (one for each season winter, spring, summer, and fall).
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
Work on this project is still in the beginning phases but has already had an impact. For example at Normande field days communication and insight about the unique aspects of the Normande breed and how it can be utilized was shared and information about what the project was trying to accomplish was shared and talked about. Also the project summary was presented at the S-1040 summit meeting at the University of Florida where the project was discussed among animal geneticists from several universities to share information about the project as well as to obtain any ideas about how to improve the study.
Associate Professor of Dairy Cattle Genetics
The Pennsylvania State University
324 Henning Building
University Park, PA 16802
Office Phone: 8148633659