Theo Bleser remembers it well. After Apina Nadja had been intensively flushed for more than two successive years and was in good condition, he wanted to let her calve again. “She was a very popular animal because of her breeding values for health, fertility and longevity. We wanted to give her the chance to prove these qualities,” Theo says. Together with his brother Wim, he ran a dairy farm in Epen in Limburg. “It was bullseye with the first insemination attempt and three weeks after she calved for the second time, Nadja was in heat again,”, he says.
Apina Nadja has fulfilled her potential. One of the most influential cows in CRV’s breeding programme has high breeding values for health, fertility and longevity. And she also passes these traits on to her countless offspring. Apina Nadja has never caused any problems for owners Wim and Theo Bleser. She has now put the crown on her illustrious career by realising lifetime production of 100,000kg of milk.
100,000 kg effortlessly
The story typifies the undemanding nature of this Ramos daughter. “She produces easily, never needs attention and is extremely fertile,” is how Theo sums up her qualities. “And she has a fantastic set of feet and legs. We regularly had cows on our farm with mortellaro, but Nadja has never suffered from it,” he gives as an example.
The Bleser brothers said farewell to milking some months ago. They stopped as dairy farmers and sold all the cows except for one. “We still own Nadja. There was no way we could part with her,” says Theo. She now lives in the same village on a farm owned by Eric Ubachs, where she calved for the seventh time last December at the age of 12 and produced the final litres that took her total to 100,000kg. After the latest MPR, her lifetime production is now listed as more than 100,000kg of milk with 4.62% fat and 3.41% protein.
75 embryos to CRV
The maternal line Nadja descends from can be traced to the Italian breeding cow Bersaglio Mtoto Locanda and her daughter by O Man, Bersaglio Oman Qualsiasi. She moved to Germany as a heifer, where she came onto the radar of CRV’s breeding specialist Eric Lievens. He contracted her to be flushed with the bull Ramos.
This flushing produced eight embryos, four of which were bought by the Bleser brothers. “Nadja’s dam really appealed to us,” Theo remembers. “She not only had high breeding values but was also a great candidate for our cubicle barn.” Three heifers were born on their farm, and one of them, Apina Naomi, was bought back by CRV. She ultimately reached the age of 11.
Nadja and her full sister stayed in the herd in Epen. Nadja had the highest breeding values of the duo and was flushed as a heifer several times. For a while, she was the cow with the highest index in the Netherlands and Flanders. She was therefore much in demand as a donor and produced 261 embryos in her life. Of these, CRV acquired no fewer than 75 which made Apina Nadja one of the most influential cows in the breeding programme.
Boost for durability
“Nadja may not be show ring material but has a very good functional conformation. And she simply improved as she grew older,” Theo says. After she was registered with 86 points as a heifer, she merited excellent at almost seven years old with 91 points for frame and type, 89 points for feet and legs and 90 points for udder and overall conformation.
Nadja’s popularity coincides with the increasing focus on health, fertility and longevity in the breeding goals of dairy farmers in the Netherlands and Flanders. Listing Ramos, O Man and Mtoto in her pedigree, Nadja had a heritage that held a lot of promise, and her genomic breeding values reflected this. Moreover, she consistently transmits these qualities to her offspring. She has given a tremendous boost to the genetic predisposition for durability traits in CRV’s breeding programme. And this effect has rippled into the dairy herds of many farmers in the Netherlands and Flanders.
Sons, grandsons and great grandsons
Following the popularity enjoyed by Nadja’s sons such as Apina Health and Apina Malcolm, her grandsons and great grandsons are now climbing the ranks with high breeding values. Delta Bodyguard (Molenkamp Bolt x the full sister of Apina Malcolm) is proving his worth with his daughters. Their performance gives their sire breeding values of 187 NVI and +8% CRV Efficiency and +4% CRV Health.
In the red-and-white segment, great grandson Delta Novak P (Delta Jacuzzi x Groenibo Bram) stands out with 304 NVI and +12% CRV Efficiency and +6% CRV Health. A rung higher we find Delta Nectar P (Delta Goal x Mars Laurent) with 317 NVI, +11% CRV Efficiency and +8% CRV Health. And Nadja’s family tree is now so widely branched that plenty more bulls are sure to join their ranks.
By achieving production of 100,000kg of milk, this foundation dam Apina Nadja has now put the crown on her illustrious career. Unfortunately, with all the coronavirus restrictions, a big celebration is out of the question. “But,” says her proud owner, “the morning after the milk test, we had a delicious slice of traditional Limburg flan with our coffee!”