Jan Poppe from Zwolle has his own vision of how he wants to milk his herd. ‘The most interesting quality for us in financial terms is high milk production from each cow. But the cows have to achieve this under their own steam and be trouble-free producers’, he adds. ‘As most health problems are associated with the time around calving, we prefer to keep ample time between each calf. On our farm, the average calving interval is longer than 500 days‘, according to the farmer who, with his wife Ingrid and daughter Julia, has a herd of 160 cows. On the farm’s second location, Jan's brother and sister-in-law milk a herd of 120 cows.
The Poppe family's cows are milked by robots 3.4 times a day on average. They are fed a high-quality basic ration at the feed fence. To maintain high milk production, good persistency is vital according to the farmers. The focus of the breeding goal is on kilograms of fat and protein combined with functional conformation. ‘We have used bulls in the past that transmitted a little less milk and high component percentages, or bulls with super conformation and lower production. But we were often disappointed with the performances of their daughters’, is how Poppe describes his experiences.