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Virginia Cooperative Extension - Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Record Sire ID's Properly for Crossbred Animals

Dairy Pipeline: December 2006

Bennet Cassell
Extension Dairy Scientist, Genetics & Management
(540) 231-4762;

This note is for producers who record services in their herds using PCDART (most details apply to other systems as well) or to DHI technicians. Many dairy producers are doing some crossbreeding these days. Proper sire ID on crossbred matings is critical to compare crosses to purebreds later on. Report the service sire and breed as for a purebred mating. A service to the Brown Swiss bull “Beamer” would be recorded as sire ID 206B10. Since this is a cross-referenced NAAB sire number, computing systems like PCDART will automatically recognize the breed of the sire. As long as the ID of the dam is complete, DHI will be able to keep track of the pedigree of the resulting calf by combining Beamer’s pedigree with that of the dam. The breed composition of the calf can be created from the pedigree data, even though the calf appears as breed code “X”. If a sire registration number is entered instead of an NAAB number (as for certain International dairy breeds), the breed of the sire must be entered as well. This is a critical step in the identification process, as an incorrect sire breed invalidates an otherwise accurate sire ID. PCDART accepts Normande - N, Norwegian Red - R, Red Angler - F, and Montbeliarde - C. Swedish Reds, however, do not yet have a breed code in PCDART, though they may in other systems. In PCDART, record a Swedish Red service sire such as 91213 Peterslund with 91213 in the sire ID field and sire breed code of “A”. Swedish Reds are NOT Ayrshires, but the DRMS Raleigh system will properly record this service entered this way to Peterslund.

This is an important time for the dairy industry to focus on proper identification of crossbred animals. There are a lot of crossbreds in heifer lots and a growing number have already calved into dairy herds. Properly recorded sire ID’s on crossbred matings are essential to track the performance of crossbreds. Without proper identification, there is no good way to track performance of these animals. Producers are encouraged to enter crossbred services correctly, and also to verify proper sire ID’s of crossbred heifers as they freshen into the herd. Use the same system if ID is incomplete at freshening. Dams of crossbreds also need to be fully identified by breed and sire (also date of birth) to complete the pedigree and assign crosses to proper crossbreed groups. Proper ID on crossbreds will enable genetic evaluation systems to compare crosses to their purebred contemporaries.

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