Merits of the Norwegian red cattle
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The Norwegian Red Cattle was originally an amalgamation of Norwegian Red- and –White, Red Trondheim and the Red Polled Østland of 1961. Thereafter, in 1963, Døle joined the coalition and in 1968 the South and West Norwegians were added. Other famous breeds which have contributed with their genes are; Ayrshires, Swedish Red-and- Whites, Friesians and Holsteins. 98% of the Norwegian herd belonged to this designation by 1975. Therefore, by the classical definition, the Norwegian Red Cattle is a mixture of breeds, rather than one solemnly true gene pool. This collection and mixture of genes were done in order to develop superior strain of dual- purpose cattle. The cows are mainly selected for having a good rate of milk flow, they have a good milking potential and the rate of fertility is very optimal. The bulls are chosen on the basis of their growth performance. There has been a lot of research done, over a long time period, on the Norwegian Red Cattle when it comes to health and fertility, and these traits are very appreciated in the breeding work with the cow. The high quality results that has been collected during the research procedure is made possible due to good registration procedures out in the field and also due to a well functional farm animal control. Another important reason for the information to be trustworthy is that the Veterinarian or Technician doing the insemination is not paid until the data is reported in to a central registration unit. In addition to this brilliant system, each farm also has their own health card (one for each cow), where everything about the cow is supposedly written down (when was the last antibiotic treatment, vaccinations, AI and so on). These registrations make it possible to compare the past and the future state of the Norwegian Red Cattle, making it easier and more convenient to do changes necessary or simply proceed with the way things are done. The main reasons for constituting the Norwegian Red Cattle were to be able to give the Norwegian farmers a healthy, functional cow with a great ability to produce milk and meat. Moreover, the importance of doing the breeding in such a way that important genetic information is not lost for the future. The prevention of loss of genetics is reassured by including several qualities in the breeding scheme. The most important being: milk, meat, mastitis, udder, fertility, bone, vigour, other diseases, milking out, stillborns and calving difficulties. The Norwegian Red Cattle has gotten positive remarks from the Food and Agricultural Organization, saying that the qualities it is bred with remarks to, is of essential value for the future. In Norway The Norwegian Red Cattle has a monopoly on the milk production in Norway since the 1960s. Even when it comes to meat production, this is done in the majority on milking cows. In Norway the AI method has almost been used in absolute number to make the cows with calf. This fact has reassured that all Norwegian farmers, no matter where they may live, have the same opportunity to receive the sperm from the same bulls. The average milk yield of Norwegian Red Cattle is a bit over 7000 kg per year. A full grown cow may be 600 kg and a bull 900 kg. An average size of the cattle herd is approximately 20, 5 cows. In the World Today you can find the Norwegian Red Cattle in almost all Continents. The Corporation Geno Global AS, is responsible for the marketing and also the sale of sperm to other parts of the World. This Corporation is a daughter franchise of Geno (breeding and AI of Norwegian Red Cattle). The demand for the qualities that the Norwegian Red hold (high fertility rate and resistance against diseases, among others) are rising. There are now current projects in Ireland, North- Ireland, USA, Canada, Hungary and Iran. In these trial projects they are comparing the Norwegian Red Cattle as a pure breed, and also crossings with Holstein Friesian cows. So far the conclusion is that both the pure Norwegian Red and its cross with Holstein, is better than the pure Holstein.