Popular bulls meet expectations as breeding bulls
The outbreak of coronavirus is severely affecting our daily lives. But despite this, the bulls have been allocated their new breeding values ‘as usual’.
New indexes for health and position of the front legs
With the April index release, CRV has added two new health indexes to the breeding value estimate. Herewith farmers are given tools to breed for healthy, fertile cows.
The Reproduction Disorders Index includes five disorders: retained placenta, white lining, uteritis, cystic ovaries and inactive ovaries. In the metabolic disorders, milk fever, clinical ketosis and subclinical ketosis come together. These breeding values help dairy farmers work towards less inflammation of the uterus and less ketosis. A breeding value for the position of the front legs has also been introduced in April. For three years, inspectors have been scoring this characteristic during the herd inspection. The difference in front leg position between cows is considerable, they have observed. It is partly hereditary and therefore it is possible to do something about it through breeding.
Fertility is improving
The fertility of Dutch livestock is improving. During the index release of April 2020 a basic adjustment was made, and it appears that in 5 years’ time the black-and-white cows have gained two points for fertility.
Improvement is also visible for production and type. The B&W and R&W cows improved by about 300 kg of milk. More than 200 days were added for longevity. Total type went up three points, just like udder.
Roza 465: MRIJ Cow of the Year 2019
The 4th-calver Roza 465 (by Remco) was elected MRIJ Cow of the Year 2019. Herewith she follows in the footsteps of her great-great-granddam Roza 28. This daughter of Beltman 18 was proclaimed MRIJ Cow of the Year in 2004, fifteen years ago.
According to the jury, Roza 465 best shows the typical MRIJ properties. In her lifetime, she produced 30,000 kg of milk with 4.74% fat and 3.94% protein. In the stable of the Groot Koerkamp family in Lettele, this brings her to an average lactation value of 120. Her type score is 86 points, with 87 points for both udder and legs.
All-in-all-out reduces infection pressure
Housing calves in fixed groups of the same age reduces infection pressure. This in turn reduces the risk of diseases.
All-in-all-out means that calves stay together in a group and are moved all at the same time. This reduces stress and ensures that the housing can be cleaned properly, and preferably also be left empty for drying. Pathogens thus have less chance and animals are also less susceptible to them. It is important that the calves in such a group are about the same age. The calves should not come into contact with older animals to prevent the transmission of diseases.
Higher feed efficiency, lower costs
"Feed costs at our farm represent more than half of the costs, because we buy a lot of feed. If we could save 5 to 10 percent on feed in the future with a more efficient cow, that would make a big difference for our herd moneywise.” Together with his family and employees, Wilco Vroege milks about 800 cows. He has 80 special feeding troughs installed in the barn, which enables him to calculate the feed efficiency of different cows each time.
The current feed efficiency of the total herd fluctuates between 1.45 and 1.55 kg milk per 1 kg dry matter. They hope to improve this further with breeding. "It is important for breeding that data are being collected and we want to contribute to that. Since the beginning we have also been a FokkerijData Plus participant, the genomics of all our animals have been examined. This helps us to make even faster progress with the best animals."
The 70 percent genetically highest heifers are inseminated with sexed semen, the others with conventional semen. With the milking animals that percentage is five. In the meantime, the dairymen have supplied a number of AI bulls as well: Bentehoek Andorra, Bentehoek Faithful, Bentehoek Andy and Bentehoek Fashion." We know that 80 percent of the animal's performance comes from management and only 20 percent from breeding, but we simply enjoy breeding too," says Aart, Wilco's father. "We want to make efficient use of the scarce raw materials in this world and the trial with the feeding troughs helps us with that."