Crossbreeding Tarentaise

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Tarentaise is an ideal choice for the "other" breed in your crossbreeding program.  Tarentaise were originally imported to North America to cross breed with British-based herds to increase milk, fertility, and carcass value.  They are the same size as the British Cross-Breeds, so crossing them does not lead to larger, harder-to-maintain cattle.  It is also possible to trim down the frame score of an exotic-based herd.


Infusing Tarentaise into your herd can drastically improve milk production, and udder and teat conformation while maintaining that high level of milk production calf after calf.  It can also improve yield grade and carcass value in one generation.  Their moderate size means you don't have to compensate with extra feed.


According to a study conducted on British breeds, cow and calf heterosis in a three-way rotation increases your total pounds of a calf weaned per cow exposed by a 23% (about 80 lbs).  The study also said that it is possible to obtain a higher level of productivity by cross breeds of greater genetic diversity.  Tarentaise have many of the desirable traits of our domestic cattle, but they are genetically diverse enough to provide this heterosis.  As Tarentaise come from a remote valley in the French Alps, they are quite unrelated to any other breed and can this give a program a tremendous boost.  This means increase calf survival, higher weaning weights, more milk production, and greater cow efficiency and increased longevity.


Early maturity is another highly heritable trait Tarentaise has to offer.  Early puberty has been linked to higher pregnancy rates as well as earlier pregnancy.  Heifers who become pregnant early in the breeding season continue to calve early in subsequent years.  Over the lifetime of a cow, this is more money in your pocket.  heifers who mature sooner reach full growth earlier.  The closer a heifer is to her full height, weight, and pelvic size when she calves, the better she will perform.  Calving will be easier.  Her energy will go into milk production and she will be i condition to breed back on schedule.


  • Tarentaise are noted for small, tight udders that maintain their ideal shape for many years.  Teats don't "baloon" after several calves.  The small teats have a dark brown pigmentation.  These characteristics have  proven to be highly heritable.
  • Calves are hardy and vigorous at birth, usually up and nursing within 5-10 minutes.
  • Longevity is impressive.  In a farm situation, the average age of culling can be as high as 14 years of age.
  • As important as these maternal characteristics are, they are only one of the FOUR CORNERS OF A COW:  Material, Meat, Muscling, and Marbling are what we look for in the ideal cow.


Source information courtesy of American Tarentaise Association