better life

Dairy farmer Willem Alders about feed costs

‘Difference in feed conversion financially interesting’

The income over feed costs is a key financial factor for Willem Alders. Feed intake data really opened his eyes to the individual differences between cows. ‘The poorest performing animals add little or nothing to the total income over feed costs. However, the best performing animals contribute more to the profit than expected’, he states.

Willem Alders had expected there would be differences, but such a large variation in feed conversion rates between individual cows came as a big surprise to the dairy farmer. The Alders family from Overloon started registering the …

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CRV test farm Van Gastel

‘Huge variations in feed efficiency’

‘If breeding helps us create cows that convert feed into more milk, that’s interesting from a financial perspective and beneficial for the environment and the climate’, according to dairy farmer Thijs van Gastel. For a few months now, the feed intake of individual cows has been measured on his farm. ‘And we are already seeing huge variations’, he says.

In the feeding passage in the barn at Melkveehouderij van Gastel in Nispen, Brabant, the first thing you notice are 20 large blue feeder troughs. With a slight hiss, adjustable panels lower and lift to allow the cows …

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Delta Jacuzzi’s foundation cow achieves 10 tonnes of fat and protein

Veneriete Sylke, foundation cow of Jacuzzi, came to the Westeneng family’s farm in Kockengen in 2007, as an in-milk heifer from the Delta breeding programme. Last month, she reaches a lifetime production there of more than 10,000 kg of fat and protein: 118,262 kg of milk with 4.88 % fat and 3.58 % protein (4,079 days).

Veneriete Sylke (O-Man x Webster x Cash) was bred from the Etazon Hyde family of Veneriete Holsteins in Kampen (The Netherlands). She came into milk production on what was then the Delta test farm in Kollumerpomp. During her first lactation she moved …

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Correction on maintenance feed to avoid big, heavy cows

The buzzword in breeding – in addition to health and lifetime production – is feed efficiency, an aspect where the Netherlands leads the field. CRV collects feed intake data and the GES will publish the ‘feed costs for maintenance’ breeding value. According to CRV’s Gerben de Jong ‘This represents the next revolution in breeding after the use of genomics’.

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Save on feed not used for milk production

Thanks to a database of 4350 cows, more – and more reliable – breeding values for feed efficiency can be calculated. As from April the breeding value for ‘saved feed costs for maintenance’ (SFCM) will be included in the  NVI formula. The biased belief that breeding for efficiency results in smaller cows can be banished to the realm of fables.

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