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5 Jun 2023

Take your farm from more to better in 10 simple steps

See this list of ten simple steps to help you and your farm reach financial security and success.

If you could turn your dairy farm into a more profitable business, how would you do it? This question is one of the most difficult to answer. Simply saying you want to cut costs and improve financial gains isn’t enough.

You need a solid plan — with our help. See this list of ten simple steps to help you and your farm reach financial security and success.

10 steps from more to better Holstein cow

#1 Make the switch to sexed semen

Rearing too many replacement heifers can be costly. Use X-Vik sexed semen to secure the correct replacement heifer numbers and build a profitable, sustainable herd.

Each X-Vik dose is tailor-made to the bull’s semen quality and has a 90% chance of producing a heifer calf from your best female cows. Fertility results with sexed semen are equal to or better than conventional results with good herd management.

10 steps from more to better VikingGoldenCross herd

#2 Improve longevity

Focus on herd health and reproduction performance to increase your cows’ productivity. Bulls with a high index for longevity help improve overall lifespan. EBV 120 means extra days in the herd (from first calving to end of the third lactation): VikingHolstein and VikingRed +112 days, and VikingJersey +116 days

Which traits drive longevity?

  • Udder health
  • General health
  • Hoof health
  • Daughter fertility

Improving health and reproduction helps secure a longer, more productive life for your cows.

10 steps from more to better VikingRed cow

#3 Increase milk solids levels

Use Production Index and NTM to breed high fat and protein-producing cows and enjoy extra profit from creating more concentrated milk. VikingHolstein’s genetic progress throughout 2001-2020 for the Kg Fat sub-index was 31 index units (39 kg fat). The Kg Protein index was 28 index points (28 kg protein). Consider sires with desirable Beta casein and Kappa casein to generate extra income through dairy business diversification, particularly if you begin specialising in cheese, ice cream or A2/A2 milk production.

10 steps from more to better VikingJersey cow

#4 Focus on animal welfare

Animal welfare is essential. Mastitis causes problems for all dairy farmers, including:

  • Milk yield reductions
  • Milk contamination
  • High veterinary expenses
  • Antibiotic costs
  • Labour costs

Achieve greater cost-efficiency by breeding cows resistant to mastitis. Sires with a breeding value of 110 on the Udder Health Index minimise mastitis cases: VikingHolstein 25%, VikingRed 23% and VikingJersey 19%.

10 steps from more to better VikingHolstein cow

#5 Achieve better hoof health

Breeding for improved hoof health is possible with production improvements. Our hoof health improvement efforts through breeding have paid off since the introduction of the Hoof Health Index in 2011.

According to data from Denmark, dairy cow hoof health improved by 18% between 2013 and 2021.

10 steps from more to better VikingRed cow

#6 Reduce the risk of ketosis with genetics

Ketosis reduces animal welfare and causes significant economic loss. Breeding cows with higher ketosis resistance achieves greater cost-efficiency, no matter the production system you use or how you currently manage your herd.

Bulls high on the General Health Index reduce ketosis incidences. EBV 110 means a reduction in the frequency of ketosis: VikingHolstein 8%, VikingRed 19% and VikingJersey 12%.

10 steps from more to better VikingJersey cows

#7 Boost cow fertility

Rely on breeding to improve dairy herd fertility. The cost of poor fertility is often hidden but significantly influences your bottom line, causing:

  • Empty days
  • Increased culling
  • Higher insemination costs
  • Surging veterinary costs
  • Risk of milk yield reductions in the next lactation (due to extended dry period)

VikingGenetics sires display substantial genetic progress for daughter fertility and production traits.

Breeding for daughter fertility doesn’t require production gain compromisation. Bulls with a high genetic level for daughter fertility create extra value for your dairy business.

10 steps from more to better ProCROSS cows

#8 Increase youngstock survival

Targeting youngstock survival improves breeding. Danish data shows improvements in youngstock survival over the past ten years. The percentage of lost calves across all three dairy breeds (1-180 days) decreased by 17% (from 6.9% in 2011 to 5.7% in 2021).

Bulls with a high genetic level for youngstock survival reduce costs and create extra value for your business.

10 steps from more to better ProCROSS calves

#9 Stimulate higher slaughter value

Use beef genetics on your lower-ranking dairy cows for the highest return on investment.

VikingBeef creates a significant income stream for the dairy business. It breeds healthy, fast-growing calves with optimal carcass value. A targeted and sustainable breeding strategy improves animal welfare and climate impact.

Combine male beef semen on your low-ranking cows with female sexed semen on your best heifers for the most profitable results. You also lower rearing expenses and reduce replacement in your dairy herd.

10 steps from more to better VikingBeef Beef on Dairy

#10 Encourage better feed efficiency

Feed dramatically affects your bottom line, the environment, and animal welfare. Up to 88% of a dairy farm’s variable costs relate to feed.

The Saved Feed Index shows how efficiently a cow turns feed into milk. It’s based on Cattle Feed Index System (CFIT) data, an advanced monitoring and measuring system using 3D cameras to analyse feed intake in a cow’s natural environment.

Data on cow weight, feed consumption, and milk production identify the most efficient energy intake. Choose bulls that will produce the best-performing and most climate-friendly cows. Don’t maximise. Optimise instead.

Read about future-friendly farming
10 steps from more to better VikingRed CFIT Saved Feed Index

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