'Look, she is already waiting.' In the barn Willem Booij points to Delta Lokke. The four-year-old Trust daughter can´t wait to go through the milking robot. The dairy farmer from Benneveld grabs his phone. 'Lokke was milked at twelve-thirty last night, at six this morning and again at a quarter past eleven,' he reads off his phone. 'And now it's three o'clock and she's already comes forward again. She easily comes to the robot five times a day.'
Since June, Willem Booij and Wendie Ottens have been milking their 175 cows with milking robots. During the transition to automatic milking, they noticed big differences between the cows. 'It took some cows more effort to adapt to the robot than others. However, Lokke adapted effortlessly.'
Would love to have a barn full of
Only since a year and a half the bull dam and Delta donor has been on the farm of the breeders of the Double W Ricky family, which among others produced the Double W Ranger. Lokke belongs to the first generation of heifers from CRV's breeding program that are milked on the farm in Drenthe. During this short period, she has become one of the barn´s favorite cows. 'We really enjoy breeding. Therefore, it is very nice to have a cow like Lokke in the barn,' Booij points out. 'We were already used to something extraordinary with the Ricky's, but Lokke is just a fantastic cow. We certainly don't want to say goodbye to all the Ricky's, but I would love to have a barn full of such a profitable cow as Lokke.'
Although calved late – at two years and 11 months - Lokke started producing milk heavily. 'She immediately had a lactation value over a hundred. For a late-calved heifer, that's incredibly good. She had a good, trouble-free start and also got pregnant in one go.'
Eventually, Lokke even completed her first listing with a lactation value of 115, thanks to a production of 14,981 kg of milk with 4.18% fat and 3.80% protein in 401 days. Booij calls especially this high protein level remarkable. 'Our cows give an average of roughly 11,500 kg of milk with 4.10% fat and 3.50% protein. With this, Lokke stands out three-tenths above the average protein level of our cows.'
Her confirmation record is also noteworthy. The Trust daughter received 87 points as a heifer. Booij describes Lokke as a solid farmer's cow. 'She is well developed, has very good legs, and a strong functional udder. Underneath, the teats are perfectly situated in a square. This makes the udder very suitable for robotic milking. Most striking is her flexible udder, which is very easy to milk. But actually, we never see her with a full udder, because she comes forward to the robot so often.'
Meanwhile, Lokke has already started her second lactation. The Trust daughter calved from twins in late December. 'She struggled for a while, but after eighteen days, at the first milk test, she was already giving 46 kg of milk with 4.00% protein,' Booij says. 'She just does it very easily. After two milk tests, she is expected to have a 305-day production of over 12.500 kg of milk with 3.83% protein.'
High protein rooted in family
Booij knows that the high protein level is not foreign to the Delta donor from the family of the American brood cow Robthom Ivory Mark. In the male line of her pedigree, names of protein inheritors such as Barcley, Stellando, and Man-O-Man appear. Also, the dam's lines are doing very well. Thus, Lokke's dam Delta Laurin (from Barcley) scores an average of 4.03% protein over her current lifetime, while grand-dam Delta Laure (from Bube) records an average protein percentage of 3.87% over her current lifetime production of over 63,000 kg of milk.
In turn, Lokke has also passed on the talent for producing high-protein milk to her sons Delta Encourage (from Fragrant) and Delta Vulcano P (from Nippon P). NVI head of the list, Encourage, inherited +0.33% protein with a milk production of over 1700 kg of milk, while the polled Vulcano produces +0.34% protein with almost 1100 kg of milk. Booij has a full sister of Vulcano, Delta Lokie P, who has just started her first lactation in Benneveld.
From Encourage, which is available through the Create program, Booij now has the first straws in the barrel. 'We breed for cows with a lot of milk and good contents. We like to milk cows that we have little work with. A bull that sires that much milk and +0.33% for protein is, therefore, something we would like to use,' explains Booij, who also points out Encourage's score of 108 for milking robot interval. 'Now that we milk automatically I value that even more than milking speed. With cows like Lokke, who report to the robot five times a day, it just works nice.'