If you decide to completely revolutionise your herd management system, then also you need cows that perform best in the new system. This was the main reason for Jelle Hakvoort, who owns a dairy farm in Rutten, to start replacing his HF herd with crossbred cows. He is now well on the way towards a 100% Jersey herd. This makes the Hakvoort-Haarman farm partnership one of the first farms to milk a Jersey herd with a New Zealand pedigree.
An undemanding, fertile cow that produces efficiently
‘We have switched from a total mixed ration to a pure grazing system, and a herd that calves in spring. This makes an organic system feasible, so we have already made that transition.’ And in the experience of Hakvoort, Jersey cows are perfect candidates for an organic system. ‘What we are are looking is an undemanding cow that looks after herself, with good fertility and efficient milk production.’
Opportunities for Overlord PP
The dairy farmer describes the complete turnaround of his farming system as ‘pieces that just seemed to fall into place in recent years’. Within the herd of 75 cows, around 75% now have a pure Jersey pedigree. The main contributor in the past few years has been the New Zealand Jersey bull Overlord PP. Hakvoort now milks six heifers sired by this polled bull.
Heifers with dairy strength and balance
Our system is quite demanding, the herd is raised outdoors in the meadow. Once they start lactating, they have to make do with grass and a kilo of concentrate each day.’ The heifers produce about 5000 kilograms of milk. This is around 800 kilograms below the figures of an average farm. Hakvoort typifies the Overlord daughters as ‘heifers with dairy strength and balance, with a good rumen capacity and nice, straight legs’. ‘They don't have a high body condition score, but do have good production with an average lactation value of 106’, Hakvoort sums up. The aAa score of 516 is another attractive feature for the farmer, and their polledness suits the wishes of society in general.
"What we are are looking is an undemanding cow that looks after herself, with good fertility and efficient milk production"
Overlord PP produces polled offspring and transmits high fat and protein production. He produces very fertile, good dairy type daughters. Hakvoort says: ‘Yes, I am still using Overlord. His daughters are precisely the type of cows that deliver the most returns in my herd management system.’