Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Longevity is heritable – you get it from your parents

Are you tired of turning over your cow herd every three years?    Does it bother you to never have cows to sell for more than beef price?    Have you resorted to using “sexed” semen to produce enough herd replacements?    

Genetic selection could be the cause of this.    A different, more perceptive approach to genetic selection and recognizing the benefit of compensatory mating on qualities of the physique (rather than ineffective linear trait mating) could become the solution.

In times of low milk prices, when the emphasis must be on lowering costs of production (rather than increasing production) to regain profitability, it is worthwhile to reflect on the genetic contribution to our current frustration.    The highest ranking animals in each generation are selected for all the milk yield possible regardless of cost.   The best sire choices, usually not identified until a later generation, are those that optimize milk yield at profitable costs of production over the longest effective lifetime.

This is our focus at Mich Livestock Service—your source for “The Best in Bulls”

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Is your goal to become the next 30,000 pound herd average?

From the July-August 2016 Dairy Newsletter

In earlier days when Ron Buffington influenced us to begin offering Conklin Fastrack probiotics in our product line, he put a lot of effort into studying “Super Cows” who were making 40,000 and then 50,000 pound lactations that included “Fastrack” as a nutrient supplement.   There were over 300 such cows that  he studied in detail, to see what it took for a cow to produce like this and still be alive to do it again.

The majority of such cows made these exceptional lactations after three or more calvings, once they had  fully grown and physically matured.    Most of these cows weighed from 1600 to 1800 pounds while in milk, and were typically from 57 to 62 inches tall at the shoulder.  “Buffy” was conversant with “aAa” as a sometime “aAa” analyzer, and noted that the majority of these cows would be “balanced” from the “aAa” perspective (expressing all dimensions, tall vs wide, long vs deep, avoiding linear trait extremes that tend to limit some aspect of cow function).

A wide variety of sires and matings were involved in these cows, as well as a wide variety of selection philosophies.   But the main thing they had in common was they had the ability to compete at mature physical development.    They expressed “longevity” as a result of good genetic balance for fertility and health, physical development and maturability.    They were not “fast maturity”, early-aging cows.

Hoard’s Dairyman article supports this with report on more recent research

Maggie Seiler, an associate editor with Hoard’s Dairyman, reported recently on a research into mature cows in Germany and Switzerland that described how the maturing of the bovine digestive tract leads to greater (and more profitable) feed consumption and utilization once cows reach four to six years of age.  
Fiber digestibility peaks in the fully evolved rumen, feed spends more time in the rumen and thus gets to be fully digested, thus passing less unused nutrients out in the manure.    Butterfat and thus Protein yield from the rumen is finally optimized at this stage of cow maturity as their cud chewing is more intensive over a longer period of the day.    The full study can be found in the May Journal of Dairy Science.

Is maintaining a younger herd your best management strategy?

This certainly calls into question the current advice from amateur geneticists to focus your entire genetic future on the latest and greatest of Genomics, without waiting to see whether the heifers produced can be counted on to develop into that “Super Cow” maturity.    The indexing underlying Genomic applications does represent a shift back towards the faster maturity young cow (current CDCI “ME” factors assume a “Mature Equivalent” yield level occurs in the second lactation, based on a genetic base for Holsteins of 30 months’ Productive Life).    Currently less than a third of all Holstein cows raised do complete a third lactation  (not quite half of all Jerseys, Ayrshires and Brown Swiss do the same).    Thus the opportunity for that “super cow” performance to accumulate in your herd and achieve that 30,000+ production level is constantly eluding even the best conventional high-input dairy feeders and managers.

Has crossbreeding proven to be the added step that can cross this barrier?

To summarize known DHIA herd averages, the answer is NO.    Crossbreeding is not a procedure that has ever proven it could lift herd production averages—it is a strategy for improving fertility and health responses within a herd that is giving its all for the maximum production young cows can achieve, and is most often chosen in lieu of, rather than because of, careful genetic and mating selection.   
At best, crossbreeding gives us one more year of Productive Life than pure breeding, usually at the expense of slower maturity of production volume given a typically smaller immature cow frame size.   It is worth noting that the goal of most crossbreeders is to recover their profitability at an attained level of production, rather than any desire to dramatically increase production.    There is no proof that we make more money on the milk we produce at the upper margins of yield stimulation… at least, while cows are younger than their full species maturity (for Holsteins this is fourth lactation; for Jerseys third lactation).
The concentrates fed to get that last pound of milk cost more than the value of the milk produced.

Designing a breeding program that will achieve competitive cow maturity

It has been our observation for all the decades of AI propogation that the most consistent measures of sire “longevity” capability has been the accumulation of full lifetime cows in his pedigree.    Of all the factors that have ever entered into the various “selection indexes” extension dairymen and AI salesmen have convinced oyu to use, there has never been an index that has ever considered lifetime production.

However, without capability of extraordinary longevity, there can be no gene transmission that creates longevity from a handful of linear and “management” traits in a selection matrix.     For the last three genetic base changes (fifteen years) in which “Productive Life” and related measures have influenced Holstein breeding selection by “Lifetime Net Merit $” ranking, the breed has only made one month of realized genetic progress in “longevity”. 

Basing production rankings on the second lactation (as “Mature Equivalent”) and calling half the bulls with progeny evaluations “plus” for Productive Life (ie, using rolling bases instead of some minimum economic level of profitable life length) will never produce a “longevity” result.     Further sorting sires on the realized production of their maternal ancestors seeking those cows who actually do their “best work” at mature ages and continue to reproduce as part of the process, is more effective at sorting the “exceptional” from the average.

The breed’s best progenitor of full productive longevity is probably Round Oak Rag Apple Elevation who was born in the Holstein “golden era” of the mid 1960s.     Penstate Ivanhoe Star (1960), Pawnee Farm Arlinda Chief (1962), Paclamar Bootmaker (1963) and Paclamar Astronaut (1964) share that era with “Elevation” (1965) and you will find that all of these sires have dams from 105,000 to 225,000 pounds actual lifetime production (prior to rBST, prior to OvSynch, and prior to TMR feeding).    It is worth noting that the two influenced by Osborndale Ivanhoe (Penstate and Elevation) have the highest lifetime dams, and it may also surprise you to know that “aAa” influenced the matings producing all six of these foundational Holstein sires.    

Thus, if your goal is to achieve a higher production level, and to remain profitable over production costs at that level, genetic selection and balanced mating goes hand in hand with preferring sires from long lifetime cow families.    This was true before Genomics distracted all of us, and remains true now that we have Genomic estimates purporting to anticipate progeny evaluation results more accurately.

Longevity is directly heritable

Michigan produced one of the best examples of this phenomena (observed by biologists in a multiple of species) that “the best way to live along life is to select long-lived parents”.   Jack Kaufman (Sandusky) had a cow that produced 278,000 pounds lifetime.   She birthed a daughter that achieved 354,000 pounds lifetime.    That cow produced a 321,000 pound lifetime daughter.    [ Ask us about 76H 261 Mark Up ].

Breeding for healthy cows keeps the milk company happier

Here we have an industry that has been “dumping” milk for nearly two years, producing more milk than our marketers can sell.     This will only end when enough dairymen go bankrupt, and enough poor cows get shipped, to bring supply back in balance with demand.

In the meanwhile, higher quality and specialized character milk is in demand.    Decisions you make in the management of your current herd and the genetic selection for your future herd, help to qualify you for the premiums that consumers will pay us for—longer shelf life, better flavor, specific nutrient content, less processing before it hits the store, applicability to auto-immune diseases, better documented care of cows.   These are the factors driving future access to premium milk prices—not volume.

Mating selection for improved milk quality is a reality today—inside you will find some ideas to help.

Supplementation in direct support of the immune system has the advantages of being “prevention” rather than “treatment”.    Higher SCS is more difficult to “treat” than to prevent by understanding what are the real factors in production of somatic cells in the milk.

Mich Livestock Service, Inc    ph TOLL FREE  (800) 359- 1693    PO Box 661, Ovid MI  48866

Your independent thinking, independent sourcing AI supplier with 60+ YEARS  of history and experiences

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


From the May-June Dairy 2016 Newsletter

SCC was added to bulk tank testing decades ago to enhance the information gained from Plate Bacteria counts for milk quality.    While bacteria counts measure milking environment cleanliness, Somatic Cell counts measure cow health.   When one or the other is too high, milk shelf life suffers; when both are high, milk quality (as well as processing yield) suffers as well.  USA legal limits for SCC were recently lowered to 400,000 (cells/ milliliter of milk sampled) to conform to an international standard;  this aids USA milk handlers in meeting export requirements so we can continue to seek foreign outlets for surplus production.

What is a “somatic” cell?

A somatic cell is any cell of the body except for ovum (female) and sperm (male) germ plasm.    Any cell with a nucleus, produced in the cow’s body (of internal or foreign origin) is somatic.    Unlike many have been told, or have assumed, it does not mean “mastitis”. The majority of somatic cells found in milk are a result of “immune system” function, and are white blood cells released to fight any infectious challenge, which could be respiratory, bacterial or viral infections, mastitis, uterine infection post-calving, even hoof rot or heel warts.   Beyond that you may find epithelial (skin) cells which are shed at the end of milking by higher butterfat% and/or protein% milk, when the bulk of milk solids are released.

What is a “normal” level?

Think of it this way to have perspective—dead cows release “zero” somatic cells in their milk.    A cow below 40,000 SCC in milk may have depressed immune function, not producing enough leukocyte cells to fight off an infectious challenge.     The optimum level of SCC is probably 50,000 to 100,000 cells based on stage of lactation (very stale cows with low milk production are going to have more cells than healthy fresh cows at their peak milk production).     SCC levels will be higher in years following a rainy forage harvest season (such as 2015), when energy values (including sunlight vitamins) are lower in feed.    The higher levels of grain supplements fed in such years increase rumen acidity, thus lowering rumen health.
Any environmental situation that lowers cow health can increase SCC even with a total absence of any symptoms of clinical disease.    The immune system, when working harder, releases more leukocytes and the udder is the organ that flushes them from the cow’s body once their usefulness is spent.

Can we breed for lower SCC levels?

YES we can, which is why we have always presented our sires in a “health trait” rather than an index rank ordering.     In every breed, the “average” SCC level is set at 3.00; bulls whose daughters are better than average score below 3.00, those whose daughters are worse than average score above 3.00.

What is “average”?    A couple summers ago, the July milk received by MMPA averaged 266,000 SCC.   It is not unusual for spring-summer milk (as it gets hotter) to be a bit higher than fall-winter SCCs.   For illustration, let’s assume “average” cows are around 240,000 SCC over their entire lactation.    This means that (using logarithmic scales) a 1.00 SCC is around 80,000; a 2.00 SCC is around 160,000, while a 4.00 SCC is around 320,000 and a 5.00 SCC is reaching the illegal 400,000+ level.

The range of SCC today for active AI sires is basically from 2.40 to 3.60.    (The worst SCC printed on any bull we ever handled was 3.83 for Shoremar Mason of Semex; the best was 2.44 on Futuraland Zade of Intl Protein Sires.)    The worst SCC offenders today disappear from price lists because SCS is a major piece of $NM indexes.    3.80 SCS x 80,000 = 304,000 SCC in Michigan, half his daughters worse…
How heritable is SCS?

The calculated heritability of the PTA-SCS measurement is 15%.     Compare this to 25% for milk volume and 30% for butterfat and protein volume; compare this to 10% for linear feet and leg traits.   Ignoring this piece of information and assuming you can totally control SCC by milking procedures and higher volume of production (to dilute the cell counts) is asking for trouble over time.

Can we breed for stronger immune systems?

Pfizer Co has a few million dollars betting on this, as they collect Genome data in their contracted “test” herds.     University of Guelph (Ontario) patented some research identifying an immune system genome, which Semex markets as “Immunity Plus”.     Within the “I+” bulls there is still a range of individual SCS for each progeny group, so these genome links are not (as yet) the total answer.

Understanding that SCS is an aspect of a functioning blood circulatory system, however, does support the “aAa” concept that Strong (code 4) cattle are more likely to have healthy circulation and immunity.   In support of this, note that Futuraland Zade (and his sire Carol Prelude Moto) both had aAa “4” strong while Shoremar Mason has his “4” quality down to fifth place (out of six “aAa” qualities).     Maintaining levels of Strong quality “4” possession in your cows will produce physiques that are more likely to have higher levels of immune system function.    Other qualities [such as Tall (code 2) which improves udder texture on heifers from meaty uddered dams] can also enhance SCC avoidance, as mastitis is known to start with mammary tissue injury, and heavier, meaty udders or udders banged around by narrow hind legs are more prone to mastitis infections.     Matings that avoid producing thin-skinned, small, pointed teats (prone to be “leakers”) help avoid bacteria entering the udder when cows lie down in stalls.     

Managerial supports to lower SCC levels

Booster heifer vaccinations annually on your cow herd.    The cost/benefit ratio on vaccination as a boost to immune system activity is well documented.    If you periodically buy in cows, this is hyper-important.

Consider offering kelp mineral free-choice with trace mineral salt, at least in seasons (like spring) where weather changes and moisture levels are higher.     “Kelp” is dried ocean seaweed, is packed with mineral elements dissolved in salt water in a balance matching the soils drained into the sea, so is an effective aid to immune function and vitamin synthesis in the rumen.    It will mix in your TMR if you prefer that.

Consider using the fresh cow products offered by Van Beek Natural Science that aid in fast and thorough uterine recovery post-calving, support liver enzyme production, and therefore immune system response to any health challenge.   Bovi Drop, Cal Caps, as well as Ruma Start add up to a good start for fresh cows.

If group feeding springers, consider Conklin “Fastrack” as a broad-specie probiotic that will have a cow eat her way through calving and fresh-cow transition so that her dry cow reserves are not depleted quickly during her peak production days.   Cow health is primarily nutrition.    Antibiotics do not help high SCC counts, the cow’s immune system has to finish the job antibiotic therapy starts.

The point is—don’t let your cows “run down”.     Keep them “fed up” so their nutrient intake meets their total energy demands (in production, in solids density, in reproduction, in body condition maintenance, in completing growth on young cows so they are “more cow” at maturity).    Not all cows utilize feeds equally, so some may need supplementation beyond what the computer says.

Sunday, August 20, 2017


From the May-June 2016 Dairy Newsletter

It is not enough today for a company to be competitive.    It is even more important to be relevant.     The competitive companies got us to where we are today, but the product and service of relevant companies gear themselves to help you succeed tomorrow.

When it comes to dairy genetics, the rapidly diversifying dairy product and market niche developments require corresponding gene pools that offer the key components your dairy will need its cows to possess, either to qualify for a market (as with A2A2 Beta Casein) or to be adaptable in a market (as in grass-fed milk) or to optimize production under specific production parameters (as in certified organic marketing).     The “one size fits all” index ranking that dominates competitive genetics faces obsolescence under the rapidly evolving dairy product landscape and consumer-driven pressures for premium milk categories, as well as the increasing diversity in facility and feeding designs.   

When it comes to on-farm management of cow reproduction, selection in favor of natural fertility capability will reduce costs over the current vogue for OvSynch that has come to cost so much more than the semen used, that genetic selection has become commoditized.
Higher cow fertility levels makes compensatory mating more cost-effective.   The rapidity of Genome-based advances in gene selection for non-rankable factors will drive dairymen toward phenotypic mating and genotype selection as a combination superior in results to the “throwing of darts” of breeding on genetic rankings alone.   The real risk of inbreeding as ranked Genomics focus on an ever-narrowing set of ancestors (seeking that single ideal genotype) is greater than ever before.    You will need outcross sires, and a basis on which you know when it is time to use them.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Why should you even consider “aAa” given today’s new technologies?

Type” is a controversial subject in breeding, primarily because the industry has never agreed on one definition of “best type”.    Earlier type classification was oversold as a way to insure healthier cows (primarily because cows with poor udders and crooked legs got lower type scores).     Linear type was designed around characteristics of the fast maturing thus higher milk yield heifers, but within a decade the loss of fertility, rising cell counts and shorter productive herdlife became noticeable enough to create new indices (SCS, PL, DPR, CCR, CE and SB) documenting heritability of health and fertility traits.    

The following remains true:   
(1)   Functional type trait deficiencies correlate with shorter productive herdlife.
(2)   Lower Somatic Cell score indexes correlate with more sustainable mature productivity.
(3)   Calving ease, stillbirth rates, and Daughter Pregnancy rates correlate with will to live.
(4)   Productive Life results from a balance of underlying qualities, is not a direct selection trait.  

Genomics procedures are a further level of “reductionist” science from our prior objective scoring.  In type classification and linear scoring, a list of nine to sixteen traits is used to define the physical quality of each cow; sires receive PTA values by comparing these scores against parity age herdmates.  After 40 years of linear scoring, we now have a Holstein that only averages 29 months lifetime production (2.25 lactations).   In spite of health/fitness/fertility traits added 20 years ago, the average commercial lifetime is not gaining any length.    With Genomics, a few preferred linear traits are being linked to a handful of marker genes associated with good trait scores in the reference population, and this is projected back into the linear type profiles and PTA estimates being published.

You can go too far with reductionist procedures to predict anything as complex as a living organism.
Ultimately, Genomics alone cannot control whether you get frail, narrow cows, beefy infertile cows, or any other dysfunctional variation.     It predicts bundles of traits, at differing levels of accuracy (Rel%).   It adds nothing to the need we have to produce “complete, highly adaptable cows”.

New DNA products (such as “Immunity Plus”) focus on individual pieces of the cow function puzzle, but the link between physique and performance is still mostly ignored—linear traits could not define it 40 years ago, and Genomics has not completed the puzzle today.

“aAa” redefines the focus of “type” so that form matches function.   This is important because:
The best feed cannot nourish a cow who lacks capacity to eat enough for both production and repro.
The best foot trimming cannot heal a lame cow whose bones lack durability to stand on concrete.
The best calving ease sire cannot save a heifer who lacks openness in thurls and pins at calving time.
The best probiotics and antibiotics cannot cure a cow who lacks strength to maintain immunity.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Demand for Polled in European dairy cattle breeding increasing

From the Dairy Newsletter March-April 2016

It was reported in Holstein International magazine in February that 10% of all European breedings in 2015 were with polled sires.   The greatest progression was 35% of all Red & White breedings.   This may have begun with animal rights but is now seen as an advantageous labor and cost saving selection.

We have had polled sires available in both Holstein (including Red Holstein) and Jersey for years, now with a scattering of polled appearing in several other breeds. 

Shifts in demand for various milk products

Fluid milk sales reported for 2015 indicate a 6% increase in demand for flavored milks, and a 3% gain in demand for whole milk packages, while skim milk packaging declined by 4%.    I just saw a new banana flavored milk package this week—so dairy product handlers are catching the trend.

It is good to have some news in fluid milk, because fluid utilization (the old milk price standard) overall was falling, and last year there was still a loss of 5.2% in fluid dollars generated, reflected in pay prices.   

The strong US dollar in exchange markets might hamper new exports, but it was still true that in 2015 one-seventh of all US milk production was exported.    California generates 40% of the export volume as Mexico and various Asian buyers are bigger volume users, and shipping distance is advantageous.

When you add up butter, hard cheeses, and yogurt (which has seen the creation of the new category of “greek style yogurt” grow dramatically) they now comprise the majority of your milk check dollars.

Butter may be in surplus, but consumption is growing

In any year when production gains faster than consumption, it will be butter and cheese stocks growing as they can be stored for future sales in holiday seasons.     But the recent news for butter has been more positive (nutritionists now see butter as superior to margarine for human health consequences) and news of McDonalds convenience food chain switch to butter for its taste advantages indicates a major shift in consumer preferences.    It is not often that taste and health benefit can be combined in one food item.

In the past fifteen years (1997 to 2012) USA butter consumption per capita rose from 4.1 pounds to 5.6 pounds, and is now estimated to be closing in on 6 pounds (per year).     Butter, cheese and yogurt now account for the majority of farmer milk checks.    This also proves that the growth in organic dairy sales is not coming at the expense of conventional dairy – given organic has been highly focused on fluid.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Monocultural milk production leaves too much income on the table

The least valuable component of milk in the marketplace is water.    The most important input on which production is predicated is reproduction.    Why then does the AI genetics industry continue to promote milk volume over milk value, confuse cow fertility with sire conception rates, and ignore the second income stream that easier reproduction from sound, physically healthy cows with eye appeal type makes possible?

The second largest breed in the USA is now “crossbreed” (Jerseys are in third place) but you never see discussions of this outside of grazing periodicals.     As a result, no one has explained the crossbreeding options in a “big picture” context that enhances both income and expense sides of the decision.   Many who have tried it feel the experiment failed.

The last breed to enter the USA as an alternative breed—Fleckveih—may prove to be the one that actually accomplishes what has been sought by so many for so long.    In spite of their appearance (similar to our perceptions of beef cattle) the Fleckveih is successful in bridging feed efficient milk production and fertility with premium salvage value.

Mich Livestock Service, Inc  **  For the Best in Bulls **  ph (800) 359- 1693

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Ultimate “Three Way” Cross – have we found it yet ?

From the Jan-Feb 2016 Dairy Route Letter

Dairy crossbreeding was aggressively studied by USDA in the 1940s-50s with the advent of A.I.  ( This was done alongside inbreeding studies in the purebred herds USDA maintained at Beltsville MD.)    By the end of the 1950s crossbred research was dropped as no cross combination seemed capable of milking more than a Holstein or testing higher than a Jersey.    The inbreeding trials varied from breed to breed.   
In that era, cows were more consistent in fertility but slower maturing in productivity—pretty much the reverse of the modern dairy cow after five decades of intense genetic selection.

Cross breeding core of support has widened in recent years

Crossbreeding had a core of support within Red cattle breeds.   One result was formation of the Red & White Dairy Cattle Association in 1964.     In a fairly short time, however, Red Holstein bulls began to dominate the RWDCA through their acceptance into commercial USA- A.I. systems.   Composite Red bulls are much more widely accepted in Europe, where Red cattle widely outnumber Black in totals (even though Holstein has become the largest dairy breed in Europe).

As some commercial Holstein herds expanded rapidly without an abundance of labor, the crossbreeding expedient of breeding Holstein heifers to Jersey sires insured calving ease in a way small-calf Holstein sires could not, given pressure to breed heifers at younger ages.    The resulting “HO-JO” cows proved popular (milky, healthy, feed efficient) although often surprisingly low testing (the fault of confusing hair color with bf% and pr% ability) and as cows could be bred back to Holstein bulls.

At the same time, dairymen converting to grazing were being advised that their success would depend on having a smaller cow.    The success of the HO-JO was duplicated here, until promoters took over…
 The argument for “hybrid vigor” and the illusion crossbreeding could replace genetic selection

Declining fertility and health characteristics leading to short commercial herdlife, and the nonadaptation of the highest genetic value purebreds to intensive New Zealand-style grazing, brought crossbreeding a new life from 2000 and ever since.    LIC New Zealand (AI stud 190) brought their sires to the USA, [first through CRI Genex, then Taurus-Service, and now through Select Sires] promoting a two-breed criss-cross between shorter Friesian-type Holsteins and Kiwi-type Jerseys (known as “KiwiCross”) and spring season calving.   The big selling point to radical graziers was that Kiwi cows do not need grain.    What we learned here was that if you fed grain they don’t milk more, they just get fat and dry up early.

Creative Genetics of California is promoting the “Pro Cross” [Holstein x Viking Red x Montbeliarde] concepts of Dr Les Hanson (U-Minn) which was designed with high volume, lower Bf%, western milk markets in mind where the only dairy income beyond fluid milk is beef cull salvage.    In the Midwest where Multiple Component pricing exists and the cow replacement market is more robust but also type conscious, old-fashion udders of Montbeliarde and narrow front ends of Swedish Red do not compete.

Basically, what we should be learning is that Crossbreeding hybrid vigor is not a substitute for sound genetic selection.    You still have to select in any breed for needed production, reproduction, type and health support traits.    You still need to consider mating effects so that you do not inadvertently produce the physically inbred animal that results from selecting the same phenotypic extremes from each breed.

Red Holstein  x  Jersey  x  Fleckveih   =   production + component $ value + durable feet & legs
                                                                 =   polled  +  A2A2 Beta Casein  +  fertility/longevity

Why is this a superior three-breed rotation?    Because you have useful genetic variety from the three largest globally distributed genetic pools.   (Many alternative breeds promoted for crossbreeding cannot identify enough variety to utilize “aAa” or avoid pedigree inbreeding.)   You have three breeds in which cow fertility has been maintained.   You have three breeds with 50% to 66% frequency in the A2 Beta Casein gene (a future factor in premium milk marketing).    You have a number of polled bulls in Red Holstein and Jersey that will carry over into the Fleckveih generation, polled being a dominant trait.   You have modern type in udders, you have high function feet and legs, you have lactation persistency, and you have a gene pool based in sufficient longevity that your composite herd will be self-renewing.

You have high deacon calf values in Red Holstein and Fleckveih which will carry over into the Jersey X generation.  If you feed steers, the biggest premium market is currently grass fed, Jersey cross beef while the growth rates and market prices for Fleckveih steers will compete with any specialized beef breed.

Not interested in cross breeding ?

The majority of dairymen remain committed to a purebred approach, where the possibilities of uniform herds and the focus on one breed sire selection should be easier.    The reason this did not work out for so many who then entered into crossbreeding was a result of “one size fits all” genetic selection where evaluation trait index focuses lead us to extreme physiques and inbreeding depression.    An increasing number of herds, both purebred or crossbred, confinement or grazing, prevent those problems through the “aAa” Breeding Guide (Weeks Analysis) which maintains balance in physical characteristics.    The focus of “aAa” on the functioning physique and avoidance of extreme “like to like” matings provides a hybrid vigor mating response both within your chosen breed, and if you crossbreed.    No other mating system is capable of bridging confinement TMR, grazing, purebreds and crossbreeds like “aAa” does.     
How to avoid inbreeding effects in the era of Genomics

Prior to Genomics the sires of new bulls appeared to be the same everywhere, but their dams could still provide some outcross vigor to your purebred matings.   But what do you do in an era when over half of the top 200 GTPI and GNM$ females are owned by four major AI systems, producing most of their new sires, and all are siblings to ranking AI sires?     Farmer breeders are being pushed out of the AI loop.

As has been pointed out by many observers, the latest being Gordon Cook, President of Holstein USA (in the December issue of Holstein International) – the beginnings of Genomics came with the promise that “new outcross cow lines” could be found with this technology.   Instead, the application of Genome evaluation has been to pile the ranking numbers as high as possible, as fast as possible.    Outcross went out the window, because in any given generation, outcross ancestors did not rank at the top.   The effect they could have had in the following generation (as a source of heterosis vigor) was never estimated.

The role of “outcross” in protecting against inbreeding depression

The definition of “outcross” prior to Genomics was, a different pedigree [either a different sire stack or a pedigree more linebred in total than the weighted mix of pedigree influences in the general population].
Under Genomics, an “outcross” (regardless of pedigree) is an animal whose Genome is different from the selection trend among ranking animals—ie, possessing different DNA combinations and markers.

Inbreeding = the result of breeding “like to like” at the Genome level

Inbreeding is a process in which the naturally heterozygotic pairing of gene alleles is transformed into homozygous [identical] gene alleles.    Inbreeding is inherently good IF the genes being paired relate to desired phenotypic responses (more milk, higher test %s, A2A2 Beta casein, homozygous polled, etc).
But IF the genes being paired relate to weaknesses or deficiencies (as in lethal recessives, or lost health and fertility, or dysfunctional physical traits) then your animals exhibit “selection depression”.    In the days before Genomics, we thought “pedigree inbreeding” caused these problems.   In fact, ancestors in common was merely associative; the creation of undesirable homozygous gene pairings was causative.

Physical evidence of “inbreeding” among the elite Genomic population
One of my mentor Jersey breeders told me a story at the beginning of popular Genomic testing, which involved his leading cow family (from whom he was selling bulls to AI and heifers in national sales).
A particular mating, involving the leading JPI sire onto his highest G value donor dam, produced four ET full sisters.   These Genomic tested all the way from P2 (20th percentile) to P9 (90th percentile).   After calving and scoring, the best of the four was the low ranking P2, who made 18,000 pounds in first lactation, scored VG88%, and bred back easily.    The high ranking P9 barely made 10,000 pounds (well below herd average), scored DS80%, and did not breed back, so was culled.    The other two performed around pedigree expectations equal to their Genomic values.    At the same time, major dairy magazines were advising dairymen to G test all heifers and cull those at the lower P levels, “don’t waste any feed on raising them”.    The result of this kind of advice is that, over time, your cow herd may reach a stage where their Genomes are near mirrors of the available ranking AI sires, and “heterosis response” will slip away, replaced by selection depression.

Every three generations, select on a different index (ideally based on your current herd’s weaknesses)
In three generations it is a truism that 87.5% of the original herd genes have been replaced.    This is the level at which, if not already present, research found “inbreeding [selection] depression” beginning to occur.   You need to throw in a generation selected on a different basis, whose Genomes can offer a  “hybrid vigor” effect.    This will protect you from “mating effects” that population genetics has never been able to anticipate, and keep you producing vigorous, functional replacements.