More and more farmers discover (cross)breeding with the old Dutch breed MRIJ. MRIJ is a Red & White dual purpose breed. The cows are easy to manage for farmers and are relatively good in coping with changing conditions. MRIJ cows have a good fertility and they calve easy. The cows have a high protein content in the milk, with a favorable fat/protein ratio and they are strongly muscled. In general, the cows are strong, robust, calm, and muscled with thick thighs and strong legs.
Strong production animals
The MRIJ breed is an old Red&White dubble purpose breed, coming from the basin of the three rivers Meuse, Rhine and IJssel, from which the name is derived. Although the number of animals has declined due to the increase of Red Holstein, MRIJ is after Holstein the biggest breed of The Netherlands. The strong points of MRIJ are:
high protein percentage
- good fat and protein ratio
MRIJ cows are robust animal that still have a good production with a sober ration and they also give good meat. Farmers can produce their milk in an inexpensive way. MRIJ farmers earn 1 or 2 eurocents more per kilogram of produced milk than their Holstein colleagues.
MRIJ is widely used for crossbreeding and is the third most popular breed in the Netherlands. A modern breeding program has been developed by CRV in order to breed MRIJ cows that produce milk with high components, persistency, and minimum veterinary costs. CRV selects about 12 MRIJ bulls per year.
Important for successful crossbreeding is the fact that MRIJ is free of Holstein genes, so more hybrid vigour can be expected. Currently more than 20% of all MRIJ inseminations in Holland are used for crossbreeding on Holstein cows. Farmers who need more strength and robustness, as well as farmers who operate on a more low cost, extensive system, should consider the MRIJ breed as an option for crossbreeding. Milk solids, fertility, calving ease, medium size, and durability are key words in many farming systems world-wide.
MRIJ’s strong points for crossbreeding:
- free of Holstein genes
- excellent fertility
- healthy cows
- excellent body condition
- long living cows
- high protein