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It's time to breed an efficient herd

With the rising cost of feed and a growing need to reduce your carbon footprint, it's important to find ways to improve the efficiency and productivity of your herd. Future-proof your herd today.

More milk and meat with less cost

Feed has an enormous impact not only on your bottom line, but also on the environment and animal welfare.

Some cows are extra good at turning feed into meat and milk. Others use too much feed for maintenance and are less efficient when it comes to utilising the feed. Two cows that produce the same amount of milk may have quite different feed intake levels.  

The Saved Feed Index in the Nordic Total Merit index (NTM) shows you how efficient a cow is in turning feed into milk.

Backed by more than 9 years of research and development, the Cattle Feed Intake System (CFIT) provides real-life data for individual cow’s feed intake collected in the cow’s natural environment 24/7 year around:

  • 1,300,000+ daily intake records on lactating cows​
  • 7,000+ cows with CFIT data​

With the Saved feed index, you can breed for more feed-efficient and climate-friendly cows – without compromising on the production, health and reproduction performance of your cows.

Take a look at the effects of breeding for improved feed efficiency. See how much kg DMI per year you can save depending on your herd size. Click "+" to see the figures.

 

Include the Saved feed index in your genetic strategy to improve your bottom line. Breed the next generation of high-yielding, trouble-free and efficient cows.

For the Saved feed index, the daughters of two bulls with a difference of 20 index units will have a difference in dry matter intake (DMI) of 70-100 kg per lactation.

EBV 120 means reduction in feed consumption – kg DMI per year.

 

VikingHolstein

VikingRed

VikingJersey

100 cows

                    16,400

                   19,600

                   13,400

200 cows

                    32,800

                   39,200

                  26,800

500 cows

                    82,000

                   98,000

                  67,000

1,000 cows

                  164,000

                 196,000

                134,000

Reduce the carbon footprint of your dairy

When you focus on breeding for improved feed efficiency, you not only reduce production costs and optimise overall farm returns. You also reduce the CO2 footprint and contribute to more climate-friendly dairy production.

Research into greenhouse gases indicates that, on average, 6% of the energy that a cow eats is spent on producing methane. However, this varies from 2-12% depending on how efficient the cow is in converting feed into milk.

Data has confirmed that there is a substantial variation in the population. The 7-year-long research into methane emissions in Denmark has collected over 26,000 CH4 breath records from 647 Holstein cows.

Click "+" to see the study results.

Methane intensity (methane per kg of milk produced) ranges from 1.9 to 29.5 g CH4 per kg ECM milk produced, with the average at 9.2. Also for the methane yield (methane per amount of feed consumed), there is a great variation between the animals, ranging from 3.7 to 35.8 g CH4 per kg DMI with the average at 15.4.

With the heritability of methane traits around 0.20, you can select cows that produce less methane. 

Studies show that there is a strong positive correlation between feed efficiency and methane production traits (the genetic correlation between the trait for methane emissions ‘Residual methane production on ECM (energy corrected milk) and MBW (metabolic body weight)’ and the trait for feed efficiency ‘Residual feed intake on ECM and MBW’ is equal to 0.48). 

Improve your production of milk and solids

What if you didn't need to worry about health, reproduction, milk quality, bills and wasted time? What if your herd was simply thriving and yielding the biggest return?

Production for a dairy cow is one of its most important traits, if not the most important. Without the capability to produce a sufficient amount of milk, the cow is not supporting a sustainable and profitable dairy business.

VikingGenetics' breeding programmes for all breeds are based on improving production without compromising the cow’s health and reproduction performance.

Higher persistency = less stress on cows

A flat lactation curve puts less stress on the cow. It reduces the risk of problems caused by negative energy balance.

If you choose to focus on improving persistency, you benefit from an easier to manage herd and fewer health and fertility issues. You utilise resources in the most efficient way.

High persistency bulls (EBV >100) will produce daughters that have a flatter lactation curve. They will have a lower yield than expected in the first part of the lactation, and a higher yield than expected in the last part of the lactation.

Take a look at the effects of improved production of milk and solids. Click "+" to see the figures.

Choosing the right bull

See the figures for average production over 305 days (average of the first three lactations) for kilograms of milk, fat and protein. The breed population averages are equal to the values of a bull with EBV 100.

You can also see how much you can improve the production of milk and solids by using a bull with a breeding value (EBV) of 110 and 120 for kg milk, kg fat and kg protein sub-indices in the Production index, compared to a bull with EBV 100.

 

 

Kg milk

Kg fat

Kg protein

EBV 100

EBV 110

EBV 120

EBV 100

EBV 110

EBV 120

EBV 100

EBV 110

EBV 120

VikingHolstein

11,335

+328

+656

458

+12.5

+25

392

+10

+20

VikingRed

9,837

+350

+700

431

+13.5

+27

353

+11

+21

VikingJersey

7,565

+286

+573

452

+10.5

+21

322

+9

+17

How do I get the highest possible milk price?

  • Boost the production level of your herd – rely on our sires with a high production index
  • Focus on producing more concentrated milk – select the sires with the high breeding values for Kg Fat and Kg Protein
  • Benefit from a wide selection of A2A2 sires, including the top-ranking bulls
  • Specialise in supplying milk for cheese production – increase the proportion of cows with the BB genotype for Kappa Casein – find BB sires

More milk and meat from forage

Are you managing a grass-based dairy production? Or are you looking into the opportunities to utilise pasture-based system even more to improve your farm’s impact on nature?

Regenerative dairy farming activities are gaining more and more attention. Among the broadly recognised positive outcomes of regenerative dairy farming are:

  • Increasing biodiversity
  • Improving soil health and protecting grasslands from overgrazing
  • Increasing carbon capture in soil

Reduce your production costs by increasing the content of roughage in the cow’s feed ration. Grass is often one of the cheapest source of roughage. If that suits your conditions, utilise pasture-based production to cut costs and make use of the lands that cannot be used to grow crops for grazing.

The medium-sized cows from VikingGenetics breeding programmes are masters at turning roughage and grass into a consistent high milk yield

Explore the breeding solutions available to you as a pasture-based farmer.

Find out more - Grazing Farming
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