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High NTM: the key to VikingHolstein success

A breeding strategy aiming for the highest NTM delivers excellent results for a Danish dairy herd – both in production and genetic progress.

Henrik Møller drives into the farmyard early every morning, just as he has done for the past 16 years. He is the farm manager at Christian Nissen, near Kruså, Denmark, responsible for the farm's 640 VikingHolstein cows.

Henrik is dedicated to the cows, especially because the herd is expanding, and the breeding strategy is being evaluated and adjusted. He also works hard to keep things under control and foster an excellent atmosphere among the farm’s 13 employees.

With the help of the farm's breeding advisor, Sara Petersen, Henrik’s breeding strategy focuses on improving the herd’s production and genetics. By continuously selecting the top VikingHolstein bulls within the Nordic Total Merit Index (NTM), Henrik has achieved a herd with a very high breeding level.

To make the breeding as targeted as possible, all female animals are genomically tested. The heifers and the best cows are served with X-Vik sexed semen, minimising the use of conventional semen.

The excellent genetic level of Henrik’s heifers also makes them ideal for the VikingHolstein breeding programme. Several heifers have received flushing contracts and embryo transfer (ET) was performed for the first time last summer.

This, of course, also makes the heifers highly desirable for other farmers. Over the years, demand for them being sold as livestock has increased.

The strategy bears fruits

Many bull calves have been tested in the herd in recent years, so it was with great pleasure that VikingGenetics purchased a bull calf from the herd.

The calf, VH Lupin, was the reward for years of work and following a detailed and efficient breeding strategy and insemination plan. This shows that being committed to your breeding goal will deliver your desired results.

"We don't do anything extra to produce good bull calves for breeding," says Henrik. “Our only focus is to breed good production cows,” he adds.

VH Lupin’s dam and granddam are still in the herd and thriving. “We don’t really notice them, and that’s exactly what proves they are good cows,” says Henrik, emphasising how trouble-free VikingHolsteins are – they milk and stay healthy without issues.

Unfortunately, VH Lupin is no longer in production. However, plenty of other world-class Holstein sires can be found using our Bull Search function.

VikingHolstein Denmark Christian CHR Nissen Henrik Møller

Creating more value

To create more added value from calves, minimise waste, and reduce rearing, Henrik added Danish Blue beef semen to his breeding strategy. By using beef genetics on the lower-ranking cows, he ensures the highest return on investment. The first of many calves have already been born with great success.

When asked about other factors that ensure a productive herd, he says paying attention to good routines is essential. "With good routines and cooperation, things work really well for us,” he ends with a smile.

Ultimately, Henrik’s strategy of combining top genetics with high NTM and good management pays off with guaranteed value and great results.

Learn more about VikingHolstein
VikingHolstein Denmark Christian CHR Nissen Henrik Møller

Farm facts

  • 640 cows – currently expanding to 750 – located across three properties
  • All heifers are retested with DNA ear tag
  • Breeding goal: High NTM
  • X-Vik is used for the heifers and the best cows
  • Pregnancy rate cows: 0.30
  • Pregnancy rates heifers: 0.46
  • Milk: 11,019 kg ECM
  • Fat: 432 kg (3.86%)
  • Protein: 383 kg (3.42%)
VikingHolstein Denmark Henrik Møller Christian Nissen

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