Herd breeding

Brief theory guide on OB breeding – Herd breeding

In the 1970s and 1980s, BS genetics spread very quickly across Switzerland. Likewise, the OB cattle population experienced a significant drop. The use of BS genetics, however, was possible only thanks to the introduction of artificial insemination. Until the advent of AI, natural service was the traditional mating method. In the 1980s it was massively replaced by AI. Artificial insemination, however, was implemented not only on BS, but also in OB breeding. From a technical viewpoint, the difference between natural service and artificial insemination is not very important. What counts most is the gradual change from herd service to individual mating.

Initially, any breeding strategy being developed on the basis of a closed herdbook shows a high degree of inbreeding. From it,independent bloodlines gradually develop. These are then crossed again with one another.

Carrying on breeding the old Braunvieh and preserving natural service are closely connected. When AI prevailed over natural service, the Brown Cattle co-operative was no longer interested in keeping sires. Privately bred sires hence appeared. The changeover from herd service to individual mating led to more diversified breeding populations. Individual mating was thus further encouraged. On the other hand, OB breeding, with its consistent pure breeding program, shows the advantages of herd service.