“When health is in the genes, you can focus on other things”

The Mortensen family, owners of the Nørskovgaard farm with 160 Jersey cows, are making steady generational progress to guarantee their high-performance standard with the introduction of milking robots.  

Jørn Mortensen started working at Nørskovgaard when he was 18 years old, back when his father owned the farm. He ended up buying the farm two years later, and now owns and runs it together with his wife and son. Together, they manage the 170 ha farm and a 160 Jersey cow herd.

They are gradually paving the way for the transition to their son to take over and buy the farm. As part of this process, they have invested in new barns and have also bought three Lely milking robots. “This way we believe we are getting the farm ready for the future,” Mortensen says. 

His herd is high performing, and the generation change requires preparation in all areas. Currently, the herd produces an average of 10,402 kg ECM milk which is well above the Danish average for Jerseys: 9,519 kg ECM. With a fat percentage of 5.88 and a protein percentage of 4.28, the farm is also one of the most highly productive in Denmark, in terms of solids. 

We don’t need to focus on health

When asked about his successful breeding strategy, Mortensen explains that the family has been keen to prepare the herd for milking robots. “We have known for some time that we were going to switch to robot milking. Accordingly, our breeding focus over the last five years has been to breed strong cows, with great udders suited to robot milking,” he says.

This strategy has worked and all 160 cows are now milked on average 2.5 times a day by the milking robots. “We are aiming to get them milked three times a day and getting there slowly, but it is a process that takes a bit of time.” 
Mortensen is delighted that they have been able to breed for animals with great udders suited to robot milking in such a short period of time, without compromising on health or production traits. 

“I haven’t focused on health as this hasn’t been necessary; we’ve had only three mastitis treatments in the last year,” he says. Mortensen adds that he relies on the NTM because “what you want is what you get” when selecting the traits of the sires. 
“It is great not having to worry about sick animals; we are very busy as it is, as it is just me and my family running the farm. If we had to spend time looking out for sick animals it would be a nightmare,” he says. 
“We want to keep breeding strong cows, with good udders, and we want to try and increase the milk production,” he adds. He uses almost 100% X-Vik as it is today and plans to continue with this in the future.

“It is great not having to worry about sick animals, we are very busy as it is just me and my family running the farm. If we had to spend time looking out for sick animals it would be a nightmare.”

Farm facts

10,402 kg ECM
5.88 % Fat
4.28 % Protein
160 cows

Employees are just himself, his wife and his son.

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