‘Aren't they just amazing? We milk these cows with immense pleasure every day’, says Ben Knoef. ‘If you are surrounded by cows like this, you can't help but smile. The fact that they have produced so much milk confirms that we are doing things right. It's why they keep on producing for so long.’
They are almost all older than ten years, have each produced more than 100,000 kg of milk – and some of them even 10,000 kg of fat and protein – and together account for a staggering 1.8 million kg of milk! This exceptional performance inspired CRV to make a video of these sixteen absolute champions in milk production owned by dairy farmers Jos, Ingrid and Ben Knoef in Geesteren. Eleven of these animals have a CRV pedigree or originate from CRV's breeding programme.
Just part of the herd
Despite their high age and high production, the 100-tonners and 10-tonners in Geesteren are just part of the herd. ‘These cows can cope easily with the work. That's why they're so special.’
The Knoef family already makes a selection among the heifers. ‘Basically, every heifer has the potential to realise production of 100,000 kg of milk later on in life. We make every effort to get them to a high age. We inseminate the cows a little more often and devote a lot of attention to them in the period around calving.’
Healthy, long-lived cows
According to the dairy farmers, breeding also plays a key role in achieving this level of performance. ‘Breeding really can make a difference in longevity. We select for milk production, strong legs and also good udder and hoof health. Good health is vital for high longevity.’
Clara 123 (s. Win 395) recently clocked up 200,000 kg milk. This makes her the second 200-tonner on the farm, after Big Boukje 192 (s. Cash).