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10/09/20, 22:00

Significant savings in time and money and improved welfare

Martijn Veening

900 cows, Czech Republic

Martijn Veening manages a herd of 900 Holsteins cows in Všestary in the Czech Republic. Martijn is originally from the Netherlands where he bred dairy cattle with his family.

At Všestary, Martijn was keen to try new ways of managing the herd, alongside some of the more established protocols, to get the most from the herd and the farm's grass-based feeding system.

I prefer a simple system that gets the most from grass silage. Alongside grass silage, the ration also includes sugar beet pulp pellets and corn. Wheat is also included in the diet as a buffer feed and as an additional energy source. The result is a yield of 35 litres per cow per day".

According to Martijn, good fertility is vital to the success of the herd. When selecting sires, he uses the Triple-A system, which simply matches a sire to a cow according to the traits that she lacks. Any cows showing signs of poor fertility are put to a beef bull. Overall, cows in the herd perform well, averaging 3.6 lactations.

About three years ago, Martijn started using milk pregnancy testing on the herd. Alertys Milk Pregnancy Test marketed by Cymedica is an analysis of pregnancy-associated glycoprotein (PAG) in milk samples from cattle, goats, sheep, and water buffaloes as a marker of pregnancy. This test is able to detect pregnancy from day 28 after insemination.

"It's used quite often in Europe, and there have been several long-term studies with positive results. The opportunity to find out the pregnancy easily at the early stage, and with such a high probability, was very interesting to me. That is why I started using this method in our company as well".

Before the introduction of milk pregnancy testing, he examined the cows with a sonographer around 30 days after insemination. If the cows were positive, a second examination followed at 100 days post-AI to confirm the continued pregnancy. However, this procedure is now replaced by the milk pregnancy test.

Martijn describes how using regular milk recording to check for pregnancy is quick and easy. All cows will be tested between the 85th and 115th day after breeding, then results will arrive within a week. If the cow is open, he will also check the cow with a sonograph.

"The application of this convenient and non-invasive method has brought me significant savings in time and money, and on top of that improvement of cows’ welfare.

Martijn Veening
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