Introduction

The Osnabrueck Herdbook Cooperative (OHG) is one of the leading cattle breeding organization in Europe and is looked on as the breeding center for Holsteins in Germany.
We gladly like to inform you about the organization, activities and products of OHG as well as the unique Osnabrück breeding program. Altogether they are the basis for the success of the Osnabrück Holsteins in milk production, type and functionality.

Aktivities

About 60 staff members are working fulltime for the Osnabrück Herdbook. They are busy in the following sections:

  • Herdbook registration of cattle and issuing pedigrees
  • Artificial insemination stud incl. A.I. services and breeding program
  • Pedigree cattle for sale in Germany and direct export of livestock, semen and embryos all over the world
  • Advise of dairy farmers in the field of genetics, management, feeding and livestock sales
  • Type classification of cows including evaluation of daughters from young sires
  • Service in the field of fertility management (ultrasonics) and biotechnology (embryotransfer)
  • Organizing of own cattle shows and participation in national cattle shows
  • Support of young breeders activities

Breeding Program

The Osnabrück breeding area has outstanding conditions for a very intensive Holstein breeding program: 97 % of all cows are bred artificially, 95 % of all cows are under official milk recording and 90 % are official registered in the herdbook department.
The basis of our todays top position in the breed has been founded in the early 60 years:

  • introduction of modern methods of progeny testing and proof estimation
  • very early and strong use of North American Holstein genetics
  • installation of a consistent breed- and sire testing program

An important decision was taken also in 1988 by testing all bull dam candidates in the worldwide unique and central donor testing station.
Since 2009 all young sires are genomically tested and selected for artificial insemination through the profound “OHG GeneScan” program. Through the participation in the “EuroGenomics” network OHG has access to the biggest and best quality reference population worldwide for genomic selection. The combination of the regionally very concentrated, extreme high genetic level and the huge nucleus size of 40.000 high selected pedigree Holsteins cows allows OHG a tremendous sustained progress in dairy cattle breeding.

Reliability in Osnabrueck

The Osnabrück bull dams were proven 1988-2010 in the worldwide first bull dam testing station. Only the best sons out of the best proven dams were sampled.
Since 2009 all young sires originate from the OHG GeneScan program (see also breeding program). They are genomically tested and selected for the widely and directly use in artificial insemination. Simultaneously these bulls are also proven in testing herds under very different management conditions.
The daughters´ milk production is proven on the highest level all over Europe. The test day information is collected under the official, internationally recognized A4 milk recording scheme and not by the owner himself (see also milk production).
The conformation of all first calf heifers is classified in all farms independent of their pedigree (see also conformation).
It´s our goal that all sires´ production values are based on at least 100 daughters in at least 80 herds and all conformation values on at least 80 daughters in at least 60 herds. That offers you the chance to use the Osnabrück breeding values as a reliable source for all your breeding decisions in your herd.
The unbiased data recording enables OHG to measure next generations of young bulls very exactly further on, which will increase the dominance of OHG GeneScan bulls and will also maximize the genetic progress of the total Osnabrueck Holstein population.

Milk production in Osnabrueck

In terms of milk production the Osnabrück Holstein cows are on the top in Germany since more than 30 years with an increasing lead to the next following. In 2018 OHG exceeded as the first German breeding organization the level of 10.000 kg.

In 2019 the average milk production of the registered cows in Osnabrück was:

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The health status of cows in the Osnabrueck breeding program

OHG has been involved in several initiatives to improve health and robustness within the Osnabrueck Holstein population. Especially the GKuh-project (healthy cow) during the years 2010 to 2012 and as well the follow up project GKuhplus (funded by innovation initiative of the Federal office of Agriculture and Food) during the years 2014 to 2017 was instrumental for the systematic approach to register all disease diagnoses and use of this information for the start of breeding value estimation for specific health traits.

With this experience out of these projects OHG was one of the first German Holstein association to start with the joint KuhVision-project (2016 to 2019), in which was the aim to establish together a cow reference population with at least 100.000 animals, which have beside production and type information as well all data on health events and claw injuries. Additionally all these animals were genotyped and so this was the basis to start in April 2019 with a breeding value estimation for health traits within the German Holsteins.

Type of the Osnabrueck cows

In the Osnabrück breeding program the improvement of type is strongly emphazised. Many championships on major national and international shows exemplify the reached high standard.

To increase the improvement of type, OHG started in 1982 the linear type classification system and in 1992 the estimation of breeding values on all type and udder traits as the first breeding organization in Germany.

The Osnabrück database for breeding values on type is especially strong and accurate, being since 1991 the one and only breeding organization in Germany to classify all first calf heifers in all herds, irrespective from heifers’ sire.

Services and products

At OHG you will find the custom tailored offer for breeders and dairy farmers in Germany and all over the world:

Herdbook and breeding advisory:

  • Herdbook records and registration
  • Type classification for cows
  • Common breeding advice
  • Computerized genetic mating system

Artificial Insemination and Biotechnology:

  • Artificial insemination service in the area of Osnabrück by A.I. technicians
  • Service offer in the field of fertility management and biotechnology, incl. embryo transfer and pregnancy checking by ultrasonics
  • Young sire selection through the OHG GeneScan program

Selling of breeding stock:

  • Auction sales at “Halle Gartlage, Osnabrück” with 350-500 head of cattle each time; biggest auction place in Germany for selling Holstein pedigree animals
  • Constant farm to farm selling of pregnant heifers in Germany and to foreign countries
  • Sales and transportation services for direct exports of breeding stock
  • Dispatch of selling young sires for German and foreign A.I. centers

Selling of semen and embryos:

  • Direct exports of semen and embryos to all countries in the world as well as through representatives into all major importing countries
  • Widespread offer of embryos with up to date matings for reasonable price conditions; transfer of the purchased embryos on recipients on request

Further offers:

  • Special extension advisory through the OHG herd management program
  • Selling of articles for breed, sanitary, udder care and health of cattles
  • Organizing of seminars and study tours
  • Extensive young breeders activities