Improving Traits In Beef x Dairy

Dairy producers have found that by crossbreeding the traditional Holstein cow with a beef breed they can usually demand a higher price for those calves. Will this trend continue? 

Blake Foraker is an assistant professor of meat science at Washington State University. His expertise lies in beef on dairy cross animals and how to improve the traits in these cattle to keep their value in the beef market. He says beef on dairy cross animals isn’t new, but they haven’t been this popular until fairly recent.

With the beef cattle inventory at historic lows, beef on dairy cross animals are at a premium and can help a dairy farm bring in additional income, Foraker explains. He says farmers probably recall when day-old Holstein calves used to go for $50 at the sale barn. Today, producers can get a Holstein cross calf for $500 or more.

Foraker doesn’t anticipate beef on dairy to go away even when the beef herd rebuilds. He backs up his sentiment by saying cross calves are more efficient at converting pounds of resources, such as corn and other feed, into beef. When it gets to the consumer’s plate, there are more pounds of carcass and more pounds of product in the carcass.

He says it’s a sustainability and efficiency story that can continue regardless of the cyclical pattern of the beef herd.

In the interview with Mid-West Farm Report. Foraker talks about his research improving traits in beef on dairy animals.