Dairy Cattle NZ - Crossbred Cows

While a crossbred cow can be the progeny of any two cattle breeds, the term most commonly refers to the progeny of crossing Friesian-Holsteins with Jerseys to produce an animal midway in size between the two parents and with the advantages of both. Such cows have good udders and excellent longevity and calve easily. Their gestation period is seven days less than Friesian-Holsteins. They can look like a Friesian or Jersey in their colouring, so any colour from jet black through to a caramel tan.


Dairy Cattle NZ Crossbred Cows
A herd featuring crossbred dairy cows


Crossbred cows account for 48% of the national herd, by far the largest ’breed’ in New Zealand. Farmers have chosen to run crossbred cows on their farms as they offer a number of advantages over their straight bred parents. These include:

  • Higher productivity
  • Better fertility
  • Greater longevity due to improved health traits

Crossbred bulls and semen are available in the market or a farmer can simply mate his cows with another breed e.g. Friesian cows mated to a Jersey bull.

No matter what breeds of dairy cattle are crossbred, there will be a variety of colour in the offspring.