Monday, 11 April 2016

Skottorp - 720 cows and 11,500 kg ECM

Skottorp farm is owned and run by Lars-Inge Gunnarsson and his family, and Monika Andersson is in charge of the herd. They have had high focus on easy calvings for many years and it has showed results. Continuous breeding for mastitis resistance has made the cell score of 720 high-producing cows to stay below 100,000! Constant focus on bulls with high NTM has made Skottorp one of the most important suppliers of bull calves to VikingGenetics.

Breeding strategy
The goal for 2016 is 12,000 kg ECM. Age at first calving is 23.7 months and it is important to have them calf as early as possible. “It is too expensive to have young stock just for fun,” Lars-Inge says. All heif-ers stay in the herd and are used in milk production. “We are not afraid of having high recruitment,” Lars-Inge explains. “Feet and legs are important and crucial traits for good production and we believe a lot in the new hoof health index”, Monika says. Easy calvings are very important because it helps the cow to recover after calving, she starts to eat and produce and get in calf again. Today there are only 3% difficult calvings in the herd. A result of this is that most of the cows get on their feet quickly after calving and start to produce milk. The herd consists of 80% Holstein and 20% VikingRed and the quota stays the same, even though the Holstein cows are milking 1400 kg more, but the fact is that the Vi-kingReds are healthier and stronger.

Meat production is a large part of the total income
All bull calves are kept for slaughter. Another 150 beef crosses are bought in the autumn. Cows that are on the slaughter list are fed for 3-5 weeks before going to slaughter. There is also a herd of 150 suck-ling cows on the farm.

Milk recording is the perfect tool
“We are very rigorous with reporting everything in the herd because if you don’t, you fool yourself with the results. The milk recording is very important for follow up on results and compare with history, and compare their own farm with other farms in same size. It is a good tool to keep employees updated and focused on being even better. It becomes a competition which is positive!” Monica says.

EDF- European dairy farmer
Lars-Inge is a member of the EDF (European Dairy Farmers) – a group of progressive and visionary dairy farmers looking for inspiration, and it serves as a platform for the exchange of ideas, experience and knowledge on an international level. “Being a part of the EDF group is a great opportunity, and it gives me lots of good input to use in my own herd”, Lars-Inge says.

Cows of today have the genetic capacity to milk more than this
“Cows of today have the genetic capacity to produce more than they do; we just need to use their full capacity. Milk is what we are paid for and we can never relax.” Lars-Inge says. “No business person can do that and no farmer who wants to stay on the market, can do that. Cows have the genetic capacity, we just need to give them the right conditions. We need to give them the best silage, the best man-agement as young calves and heifers and look after them even more carefully”, Lars-Inge says.

A big proportion of bulls to VG comes from Skottorp
Since Skottorp always has used high NTM bulls, a lot of heifers and bulls are tested genomically be-cause of high pedigree indexes. During the latest two years four bulls have been used as genomic bulls from the farm, and that is quite a lot since genomic selection has decreased the number of bulls bought radically! The last four bull calves sold from Skottorp still have very compatible gNTM: 
VH Gaga, gNTM+33 (VH Gavin x D Limbo x Rakuuna) 
VH Blogg, gNTM +29 (VH Brilon x D Jul x O-Man) 
VH Sharp, gNTM+28 (VH Sprite x D Etoto x O-Man)
VH Blixten, gNTM+26 (VH Bostrup x VH Bull x V Exces) 

Owner: Lars-Inge Gunnarsson and his family. Lars-Inge is the president of VikingGenetics
Employees: 16 persons including family members
Cows: 720 cows, 80% Holstein, 20% red
Production: 11 550 kg EKM
Farm: 1500 hectars
Other: Milking three times per day
Age at calving: 23.7 months

Lars-Inge, owner of Skottorp and chairman of VikingGenetics, and Monika, who is responsible for the animals and breeding.

One of the challenges in a big herd is the high pressure of infections among the young calves. Therefore, all calves are put outdoor in pens and stay healthy.

The employees at Skottorp are a very important part of the result and the high production of the cows. Here is Andrzej Wcisto busy milking.

The dam of VH Blogg - one of the top bulls at VikingGenetics. A very good 4th lactation cow that had her first calf at 22.4 months old and produces 12,200 kg ECM today with a calving interval at 12.3 months and all recordings in best cell score!

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