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The Montbeliarde breed belongs to the Jura mountains branch of Continental European Red and White breeds. Its birthplace is in Franche-Comte, on the high plateau of the Jura. The climate is continental, with sudden changes in temperature. Farming is based on a long period wintering indoors of 5 to 7 months during which the feed is based on dry forage, alternating with a period at summer pasture. For the most part, the milk is used in the production of cheese which is allowed to mature (Comte type).
The Montbeliarde is essentially a dairy breed: the average production of recorded cows (7,285 kg of mill< at 3.86 % of fat and 3.42 % of protein) is one of the best recorded. Its milk has excellent cheese-making value (for making gruyere) because of its high level of protein content and a high frequency of Kappa Casein B variants.
It is placed in the first rank for its breeding qualities and functional characteristics:
** its resistance to mastitis (very low cell counts),
** its fertility (good success rate in artificial insemination),
** its longevity (24 % with 5 or more lactations),
** its calving ease (25 % of crossbreeding with the Charolais, no calving problems),
All these features mean that it is a hardy, easily managed breed, which
adapts remarkably easily to all environments.
The Montbeliarde also has undoubted beefing qualities: its rapid growth rate and good conformation mean that its calves and young bulls are highly appreciated; the cull cows too produce good quality carcasses with no excess fat. In addition, this breed is very hardy and well suited to harsh climates; it is not affected by the heat, and can ingest large quantities of rough forage, which enables it to maintain its performances when used in much hotter regions.
Selection and expansion
The principal aim of the selection programme is the improvement of dairy aptitudes (quantity and quality of the milk, milking ability) and the maintenance of beefing qualities (growth conformation) and rearing (hardiness).This programme includes three phases: planned matings, individual on station testing of young bulls, on farm progeny testing on heifers for milk production, milking ability and conformation. 150 bulls are progeny tested annually.
In France, the Montbeliarde is composed of 700,000 dairy cows; it is
developing in many regions and its population is steadily increasing. The
Montbeliarde breed represents, in the Red and White Simmental branch, the most
marked dairy type. As such, it is exported to all the countries of Central and
Eastern Europe, to improve their corresponding Red and White breeds, especially
to Italy Austria, Czech republic ... ). Moreover, its production qualities and
adaptability mean that it is in great demand in North Africa (Morocco,
Algeria... ) where it has been exported for many years, as well as in several
countries of the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East, Africa, and North and
Milk Yield 7,285 kg. Fat content 3.86% protein content 3.42%
Weight of adult Bulls 900 to 1200 kg
Weight of adult cow 600 to 700 kg
Height at withers of adult cow 145cm
Milk Recording results, corrected lactations, Livestock Institute - FCL 1998
Montbeliarde Cattle Society of Ireland