Brazil produced in 2000 almost 20 billion liters of milk, which represents an increase of around 27% since 1995. In the state of Pernambuco, milk production is around 407 M liters (IBGE 95/96), placing the state as the second largest producer in the Northeast region of Brazil. Dairy herds are composed of a large variety of crossbred animals managed extensively. With the current crisis of sugarcane industry, crosses of Holstein and Gir are becoming new and interesting options in the Zona-da-Mata region. Different studies suggest the use of crossbred animals under tropical conditions to produce milk (Madgwick and Goddard, 1989; Ahlborn-Breier and Honenboken, 1991; Touchberry, 1992; Zarnecki et al., 1993); other studies support the use of purebred European cattle in the same regions (Swan and Kinghorn, 1992; Simpson and Conrad, 1993; McDowell et al., 1996). It would appear that the particular environmental conditions may dictate which genetic solution is most appropriate. To this end, the Empresa Pernambucana de Pesquisa Agropecuária (IPA) in the state of Pernambuco, northeast Brazil, initiated in the 80’s a crossbreeding program to produce crossbred animals ⅝ Holstein + ⅜ Gir, using reciprocal or alternate crosses, with the objective of evaluating the performance of different genetic groups.
Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 2002. Session 1, , 1.91, 2002
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