Morten Jacobsen: “VikingGenetics cows simply do a better job”

In April 2017, Morten Jacobsen bought a business with Holstein cows near Tarm in west Denmark. The previous owner did not use VikingGenetics, unlike Jacobsen. And he can see a marked difference.
“Economics.” That is the brief initial response you get when you ask Jacobsen why he uses VikingGenetics. In 2017, he bought a business with around 400 cows, and they were a good looking herd. Even though Jacobsen is 1.86m tall, he couldn’t see over the top of some of the cows. There was a big variation in production; some of the 1st calf heifers produced 40-50 kg of milk, while others almost nothing. The pregnancy rate was low, and finally Jacobsen decided to replace two thirds of the herd with four other herds and at the same time expand the business to 680 cows. He exported the animals he could replace, and sent the others to slaughter, to create space for the new cows that had all come from businesses that had used VikingGenetics. Then he got a surprise:
 
“The pregnancy rate is 15% higher in Viking cows, the productivity of first calf heifers is two kg higher, and the Viking cows have a mortality rate of 3.5%. The rate was 10% in the original herd, and it is worth noting that is with the same feed and care,” Jacobsen says and concludes:“VikingGenetics cows simply do a better job”
 
He now realises how big an effect different breeding strategies can have. The livestock he took over, were good looking, healthy and with good limbs, but the focus had been on appearance, and in this case, at the expense of other parameters.
High NTM – high earnings
Jacobsen focuses on fertility and productivity today, when compiling a mating plan. The cows that are from the original herd, are inseminated with beef semen, and all heifers get X-Vik. Jacobsen breeds using the NTM, and here too, he has learnt a valuable lesson, cows with the highest NTM demonstrably prove to be the best:
 
“A high NTM means high earnings. This can be clearly seen from my printouts, that show a certain variation amongst the bought animals, but with a clear indication that the herd I bought with the highest NTM does best,” he says.  
Last July, Jacobsen acquired yet another business, this time in Givskud in south Jutland, some distance from his home and business in Tarm. He has 400 Holstein cows here, and is planning to expand this to around 650 by this time next year. The cows are of Viking ancestry, milked three times a day, and the business has six employees, that Jacobsen checks up on a couple of times a week. Along with Jacobsen himself, there are seven employees at Tarm, and production at the two farms is around 11,700 kg ECM. The aim is to eventually reach 12,000, when the livestock at Tarm become more uniform, which Jacobsen has already come a fair way towards.
 
Morten Jacobsen:
  • Dairy farmer near Tarm
  • He has two businesses with Holstein cows in Tarm and  Givskud, with almost 1,100 cows in total.
  • The two locations produce around 11,700 kg ECM.
  • 13 employees in total.

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