The Braunvieh is a traditional Swiss breed. Andreas Anderegg, President of the Original Brown Swiss Breeding Association, and Martin Rust, Deputy Director of Brown Swiss Switzerland, answer questions about the future of the breed.
Why are the numbers at Brown Swiss declining?
Martin Rust: In the main catchment areas of our breed there has been a strong change from dairy farming to suckler cow husbandry in recent years. In addition, the proportion of meat breed inseminations was high for many years. This has led to a shortage of remonts in the Brown Swiss. The missing young cows were also replaced with other breeds.
And why is Original Braunvieh gaining weight?
Andreas Anderegg: In the Original Braunvieh, milk and beef performance are equally weighted in the total breeding value. This dual use is in demand and can be used widely: Smaller farms that spend the summer and fatten their animals in the winter achieve good results with Original Braunvieh. Those who milk can sell their calves for a good price. An Original Brown Cow is also suitable as a mother cow.
We feel grosses interest – in Switzerland and abroad.
Andreas AndereggPresident Original Braunvieh Breeding Association
What are you working on with the breed right now?
Anderegg: The total breeding value is revised every three to four years and adjusted if necessary. That happened in 2021. Now let’s work on these features. In addition to the breeding values for milk and meat, fertility is an important criterion that is heavily weighted.
Rust: There is a lot going on in breeding value estimation. The range of features is constantly being expanded and new features are added, especially in the area of fitness. Examples are the breeding values ”temperament during milking” or “ketosis resistance”. We have a large proportion of farms that actively support the breeding program through the “Bruna Data” and “Bruna Classic” programs. The genomic breeding value estimation is thus placed on a broader basis and sustainably improved.
New features – especially from the fitness area – are added.
Martin Rust, Vice Director Brown Swiss Switzerland
What does the future of the Brown Swiss look like?
Anderegg: We sense a great interest in the original Braunvieh – in Switzerland and abroad. In the future we will continue to work on communication, information and advertising for and about our breed.
Rust: We continue on the breeding path into the future and offer excellent dairy cows for different systems with the two breeding directions BS and OB. Switzerland wants to continue promoting the international development of the brown cow in the future.
On the entry of the Brown Swiss in the livestock encyclopedia