Optimisation as a growth strategy rather than expansion

Anders Forsberg is operations manager at Gl. Krogaard in Ullerslev on Funen, and he is a man with ambition. He cares for the 250 cows here as though they were his own, because one day they will be.

By VikingDenmark
Anders Forsberg
It has probably always been on the cards that Forsberg was going to work with cows. His father, grandfather and uncle all had Jersey herds when Forsberg was little, so he has been around them from an early age. After training to become a business manager at Dalum Agricultural College, Forsberg has worked with two Holstein herds, but has now found his way back to Jersey cows at Sophia and Palle Bjerggaard, and he's now ready to put down roots:

“Palle and I have planned a generation change, when the time is right. Until then, we are both getting a good deal; I’m gaining loads of experience and the chance to show the banks what I am capable of, while Palle gets a motivated employee who really wants the business,” Forsberg says.

Wants to have the best possible cows
Forsberg is not a breeding buff in the sense of doing in-depth research into bulls etc., he leaves that to their breeding advisor, Pernille Hougaard Jensen. Having said that, it is very important to him that the enterprise has the best possible cows, and here breeding plays a big role:

“Our strategy is to get good, sustainable cows as older cows are the ones that produce the most milk. So we breed for sustainability and production,” says Forsberg.

The business has one of the lowest waste percentages for Jerseys in Denmark  – around about 10% – while at the same time, Gl. Krogaard has a very high pregnancy percentage. Bjerggaard and Forsberg are not interested in big sales of heifers, which is why they use 85% beef cattle semen plus sexed semen for the rest – with the exception of the very high index animals, that are inseminated with conventional semen, as this can lead to a bull for Viking. This strategy also means that Forsberg has to slaughter very few bull calves, which they are happy to avoid at Gl. Krogaard.
At Gl. Krogaard they have 250 Jersey cows that lie in trays with deep litter made from a mix of straw, chalk and water
Optimisation rather than expansion
Forsberg has absolutely no doubt that Jerseys are the cows of the future. He stresses their good temperament, high feed utilisation and fertility as some of the excellent qualities of the breed. He very rarely has to assist in a calving in the stall, which to Forsberg's mind as a farmer, is a very big plus with having Jerseys. However, there's always room for improvement – and while many farmers dream of expansion, that's not the direction Forsberg wants to take. He would rather focus on all the various areas, large and small, where a bit more effort can be made. Effort that means you get more out of your cows.

“We have gone from mattresses to trays with deep litter, that is a mix of straw, chalk and water. It's cheaper than sand and just as good, we hardly see any hock problems any more, and they spend far more time lying down now. Added to which, we have had ventilation installed in the loft, and new water troughs which has increased the water level from 5 to 15 cm per cow. This has had the effect that the cows milked really well all summer, despite the heat,” Forsberg explains, who also says that HeatimeRuminact is a big help in day to day work.

“We have had Heatime since 2009, and then connected in Ruminact a couple of years ago, and I am really pleased with the health part. I particularly use it to see if the cows are ruminating again after calving. The system is worth its weight in gold in this respect. 

For Forsberg, it’s a matter of always paying attention and keeping a critical eye on your own business and asking what can we do better for the cows?

Anders Forsberg:
  • Age 29
  • Operations Manager at Gl. Krogaard in Ullerslev on Funen, Denmark where he was also an apprentice.
  • Trained as a business manager at Dalum Agricultural College
  • Was formerly an apprentice with Sophia and Palle Bjerggaard
  • Lives close by with his partner and two children

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