The objective of this study was to investigate the potential differences among Holstein-Friesian (HF), Montbéliarde (MB), Normande (NM), Norwegian Red (NRF), Montbéliarde × Holstein-Friesian (MBX), and Normande × Holstein-Friesian (NMX) across 2 seasonal grass-based systems of milk production. The effects of breed and feeding system on milk production, body weight, body condition score, fertility performance, hormone parameters, ovarian function, and survival were determined by using mixed model methodology, generalized linear models, and survival analysis. The 5-yr study comprised up to 749 lactations on 309 cows in one research herd. The HF produced the greatest yield of solids-corrected milk, the MB and NM produced the least yields, and NRF, MBX, and NMX were intermediate. The NRF had the lowest body weight throughout lactation, the NM had the highest, and the other breeds were intermediate. Body condition score was greatest for MB and NM, least for HF, and intermediate for NRF, MBX, and NMX. The HF had a lower submission rate and overall pregnancy rate compared with the NRF. The NRF survived the longest in the herd, the HF survived the shortest, and the NM, MB, MBX, and NMX were intermediate. Breed of dairy cow had no effect on selected milk progesterone parameters from 5 d postpartum until 26 d after first artificial insemination. Breed of dairy cow did not influence insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 around parturition or at the start of the breeding season. Animals offered a high-concentrate diet had greater milk yield, but they did not have improved reproductive performance. Differences observed between the different breeds in this study are a likely consequence of the past selection criteria for the respective breeds.
- Milk production
- Reproductive performance