Time for fine-tuning at the organic farm Lövåsa in Sweden

Lövåsa farm is beautifully situated near Kinnekulle, Lidköping, Sweden, in an area where there are many intensive, organic farms, not so much thanks to the abundance of natural pasture land, but more for the quality of the soil that is ideal for this type of farming and the fact that the cold winters eliminate bugs and fungi.

Dag Arvidsson grew up on the farm he owns. He runs it with his sister and seven employees. Arvidsson has been a dairy farmer since 1993. The new barn at Lövåsa built in 2012 houses 430 cows, mainly Holsteins, in organic dairy production.
Milk production is around 10,000 kg, and after expanding the herd, all heifers born are genomically tested and only the best NTM-heifers are selected as dams for the next generation. Over the last five years, the farm has enjoyed excellent development and now it’s time for some fine tuning.

“My breeding goal is not about maximising production or to develop show cows but to have a herd with high performing dairy cows. No extremes, just good working cows,” Arvidsson says.
Dag Arvidsson with Erika and Jessica Zetterlund and Anna Arvidsson
Pioneer in genetic advances
Arvidsson is an early adopter when it comes to new genetics, first buying embryos 20 years ago. “Two years ago I started to genomically test all females and use the bottom 30% of the herd for beef. This is the fastest way to make genetic progress in the herd,” he says. Sexed semen, X-Vik, is used to some extent, but he recognizes that using this more can enable even quicker progress in the herd.

Arvidsson and his team meet with their breeding advisor four times a year and go through the herd’s KPIs and plan upcoming females to be inseminated with young high NTM sires. “I can see a difference every year in terms of better production and healthier animals. Work becomes fun when you monitor development and can see progress. That is what drives me,” he explains.

As udder health is an important part of their daily routine, this is a “must” when selecting bulls. In the past 12 months only 3% of the cows have been treated for mastitis. This is reflected in the clean and dry floors, good environment and really low level of hoof diseases in the herd.
Planning on a herd-level 
The next goal is to cut costs even more per kg of produced milk. “You can always do a little bit better, and by monitoring this KPI we can save more money while keeping our cows healthy, it’s a win-win situation for us and for the cows,” Arvidsson says.

The Lövåsa farm team is heavily involved in the dairy business. “It is important to include employees. In return you get people who are proud of the figures and feel a sense of responsibility for the business,” Arvidsson says. “If they want to take a course and learn how to inseminate, I encourage them. By so doing, we can achieve really good figures for age at calving and calving interval. You get it all back,” he adds.

The breeding goal for Arvidsson and his business is exactly what VikingGenetics promote. Good economics with robust healthy, high yielding cows. “I believe in VG’s breeding goal, the indices and the surrounding process and I can see it works in my own herd,” Arvidsson says in summing up why it is important to have reliable registration data from dedicated dairy farmers, like him, in the Nordic countries.
Arvidsson is also a member of EDF (European Dairy Farmers), a club of progressive and visionary dairy farmers looking for inspiration. EDF acts as a platform for exchanging ideas, experiences and knowledge at international level. “I see this as a great opportunity to learn from others and gain inspiration,” Arvidsson says. The farm exudes a feeling of inspiration and satisfaction. It is a business with so much potential. A lovely herd, an enthusiastic team that enjoy their work and with a genuinely inclusive atmosphere. A classic case of a great leader making a great team.

Lövåsa Farm

• 430 milking cows
• 8 employees
• 6 Lely robots
• Production: 10,000 kg milk, 3.8% fat and 3.3% protein
• Age at calving: 23.8 months
• Calving interval: 11.9 months

Note!: To be certified as an organic farm, the cows have to be in pasture for four months and with 50% of roughage from grazing.

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