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Hybrid vigour offers `new direction' for UK dairy cattle.

A NEW hybrid dairy cow, the Norstein, is to be introduced to the UK.

The Norstein, a cross between Holsteins and Norwegian Reds, is said to offer better fertility, longevity and masti tis resistance than pure black and whites.

Norstein backers believe the cross-bred will herald a new direction in the UK.

``Cross-breeding in dairy cows in the UK has not been widely practised to date, '' said Jason Kean, customer service manager for AI distributor Green Acres. ``Despite the Holstein's proven milk production ability, many cost-conscious British and Irish farmers are increasingly interested in the commercial advantages of cross-breeding. ''

Green Acres has struck a deal with Norwegian company, Geno Global, which gives it sole rights to market semen from Geno's Norwegian Red breed to farmers in UK and Ireland.

Geno's managing director Tor Sletmoen added: ``Selected for traits such as fertility, health and calving ease for more than 30 years, Norwegian Reds offer something new to UK breeders. ''

Trials in the US, comparing a range of European breeds cross-bred to Holsteins, show the Norstein offers lower stillbirth rates, easier calvings and lower disease incidence.

According to Geno Global, the cross is also coming out on top for milk production and fat and protein.

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Backers have high hopes for the Norstein hybrid, a cross between Holsteins and Norwegian Reds
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 6, 2005
Words:220
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