X-Vik, driving a successful breeding strategy at Havdal Jersey farm 

Havdal Jersey farm is located in Søften a few kilometres outside Denmark’s second largest city, Aarhus. Jørn Mikkelsen and his daughter, Mette, own and run this prosperous dairy farm where the speciality is fresh Jersey milk and home-made ice cream.
 
Mikkelsen took over the Havdal Jersey Farm from his parents in 1985. At that time, the farm had 40 Jersey cows on an area of 35 hectares. Now, more than three decades later, the farm has a herd of 100 Jersey cows and an area of 115 ha. Mikkelsen has the main responsibility for the farm and cows, while Mette takes care of the business which includes sales of fresh milk and home made ice cream. 
“Breeding has always been important to me,” Mikkelsen says. His enthusiasm about the kind of cow he wants to have on his dairy farm is firmly established as he is also a board member of the Danish Jersey Association.
 
“My main focus regarding breeding strategy, right now, is to increase production as well as achieving better udder health and udder quality for my cows,” he says.
 
He is also keen on selecting long-lived cows. “Longevity is also very important,” he says. And the fact that he has a low replacement rate of 25% backs up this statement. 
Full use of tools and solutions
As a breeding enthusiast, Mikkelsen has kept track of the new solutions VikingGenetics has offered and is a full user of all of the available tools to breed the best dairy animals. 

He uses X-Vik sexed semen on 100% of his heifers. He wants to make sure that he is breeding his future herd based on the best genes of his herd. As such, Mikkelsen tests all his animals genomically. This knowledge enables him to determine his breeding strategy. 

He crosses 50% of his cows outside the top group with beef semen, while using conventional Jersey semen on other cows, in order to try and breed some good bulls, that he can sell to VikingGenetics to help the genetic progress of the Jersey breeding programme. Mikkelsen also does embryo flushing on some of his best heifers to further increase the genetic improvement gains. 
Mikkelsen is also keen to share how genetics from VikingGenetics has helped him in other ways besides producing healthy, high performing cows. In 2015, he won “Denmark’s most beautiful dairy cow” with his - at the time – four-year old Jersey cow Gaia.

Mikkelsen lets his cows go out to pasture in the summer despite not running an organic farm. He says that people who visit the farm to buy ice cream, seem to really enjoy watching the cows happily wandering around outdoors.
 
 
Farm Facts
No. of cows 99
ECM 9,509 kg
Fat 5.82 %
Protein 4.16 %
Employees: Jørn and Mette Mikkelsen

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