Friday, 19 February 2016

Norwegian dairy farmers prefer Holstein and Jersey

In Norway, the majority of the cows are the local red breed NRF. But more and more Norwegian dairy farmers prefer Holstein and Jersey cows in their herds.

In September, Rune Bauge, Undheim in Norway, took a new barn for 60 Jersey cows and young stock in use. The farm has had Jersey cows for at least 50 years – and it pays off. To the question why he chose Jersey, Rune says that it is primarily due to the improved economics in Jersey cows. Jersey milk is paid 76 Euro cent / liter, which is 21 Euro cent more that the price for NRF/Holstein milk.

In Norway, a dairy herd has a maximum quota of 900,000 liters, but since the quota is li-ter, it is possible to produce more kg ECM with Jersey than with NRF cows. At the same time, you can have more cows per hectare, and in many areas in Norway, land is a limiting factor to the production.
”The good feed efficiency and easy temper of the Jersey cows are another advantage” Rune points out. “In addition, they work well in the Lely A4 milking robot and after three weeks only two cows need help. They find their own way to the milking, and we already have 2.5 times of milking per day”.
Rune Bauge

Due to the good economy in Jersey cows, the demand for Jersey livestock is high, and the Norwegian Jersey Association has a two-year waiting period for Jersey livestock in their sales list. The prices for heifers in calf are 1600-2700 Euro. Due to veterinary regulation, import of live cattle to Norway is not possible so the only option to increase the herd is import of embryo and use of sexed semen. VikingGenetics is the only supplier of Jersey semen in the Norwegian market, and Viking also offers special advising in Norwegian Jersey herds by breeding advisor Peter Weinkouff.
Jersey cows at Per Aadne Skårland

In 1999, Steinar & Reidunn Todnem, south of Stavanger in Norway, started crossing their NRF herd with Holsteins. Since then they have used VikingHolstein sires. “During the latest 12 months, our 75 Holstein cows have produced 11,100 kg milk in average. At the same time, the quality of the udders has improved significantly, which is a huge advantage in a system like ours with milking robot”, Steinar points out.
The breeding goal is directed towards optimal economy and function in the free-stall barn. “We use breeding advisor Peter Weinkouff from VikingDanmark, who has huge knowledge on Holstein”, Steinar explains. “Peter visits us once a year and uses a computer based mating program – “VikMate®”. This program takes our breeding goal into account and at the same time keeps the inbreed-ing at an acceptable level”.
 Reidnun & Steinar Todnem

”In general, we select bulls based on NTM, which has high weight on health, fertility and hoof health – all important traits in our herd. Furthermore, production and functional traits have high focus. Unfortunately, Geno is not a member of NAV, but we have been promised that we can have NAV breeding values for our animals. In this way, we can compare them with other Holstein animals in the Nordic countries.”
Steinar and Reidunn use sexed female semen (X-Vik) systematically for the first insemi-nation in heifers and cows in good heat. “The prices on Holstein livestock and heifers in calf are good. Therefore it pays off to use sexed semen, and we are happy with the pregnancy results”, Steinar ex-plains.

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