The Montbéliarde breed has its origins in the area between Switzerland and France, the Jura. At the time, there were several local breeds, the red and white one being the most important. The Montbéliarde is a milk and meat breed that is easy to maintain under simple conditions. In total, the breed consists of more than 2 million animals, of which 685,000 cows are destined for dairy farming. The average weight of an adult Montbéliarde cow is between 650 and 800 kilos. A bull weighs between 1,000 and 1,200 kilograms.
The Montbéliarde is large and strong, has a robust build, the leg structure is dry and hard and in side view especially straight, strong in quality and rather coarse than fine. The rear view is nice and straight, their step is powerful and straight ahead. The hoof is high from behind with a short diagonal. This corresponds to the steeper leg position.
The rump of the Montbéliarde is structurally spacious and above all sloping. A large and sloping rump facilitates the calving and the afterbirth is, therefore, easily ejected. Due to its strong, broad build and large musculature, it is a cow that is always in good condition.
The Montbéliarde doesn’t display a negative energy balance, it starts quietly at the beginning of the lactation and then shows a flat lactation curve. It is by nature, a breed with good persistence. The generously built sloping rump, the robust build and the persistence in lactation are the main reasons for the above-average good fertility of the breed.
The udder of a Montbéliarde has an excellent quality and structure. The udder attachment is very tight, the udder increases in volume as lactations progress.
In 2000, the 358,000 cows accounted for a (adult) milk production of 7303 kg with 3.90% fat and 3.40% protein in 316 days. This production is realised on the basis of a simple ration, with a lot of roughage (hay, silage grass and/or maize) and with supplementary feeding of simple concentrates and/or crushed grain.
· Robust animal with extra muscle (for meat production);
· Good udder health;
· Very fertile animal (shorter time between calvings);
· High persistence, lower production at the start but keep producing for a long time;
· Good leg structure;
· Favourable fat/protein ratio
Growth rate: An average of 1200 grams per day
Slaughter return: Fattened bulls from 18 to 20 months weigh an average of 420 kg