Dutch herds increase lifetime production and longevity

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The lifetime production and productive lifespan of Dutch dairy cows are increasing. This is evident from CRV’s annual statistics for the year 2012/2013. For the third consecutive year, lifetime production has increased and now stands at 30,751kg of milk, with a lifetime total of 2,427kg of fat and protein.

In addition to the increase in lifetime production (table 1), the productive life of the animals also rose by 11 days in the past year (table 3). The calving interval remained stable for the third consecutive year at 417 days.
The average milk production of all Dutch herds decreased slightly by 118 kg. This was due to a number of reasons:

• Winter 2012/2013 saw, on average, lower quality forage on farms and, due to high concentrate prices, producers did not always fully correct for this in the herd ration.

• Cows with lower milk production, which would have been culled in a typical year, were milked for longer in order to utilise the full milk quota.

• Producers were less selective and kept more animals, possibly to anticipate potential regulations after the planned ending of the milk quota system in 2015.

Holstein performance
Table 2 shows the average production for Dutch Holstein Friesians – the main dairy breed milked by producers in the Netherlands.

Black-and-white Holsteins top the list with an average production of 9,719kg of milk, with 4.32% fat and 3.51% protein in 358 days. They are followed by red-and white Holsteins with an average production of 8,901kg of milk with 4.54 % fat and 3.61% protein in 350 days.