Heinrich Schmidt: “Longevity pays off”

Record-breaking sisters with over 200,000 litre yield

The two best cows in Heinrich Schmidt’s stall in Kettenkamp have more in common than the first letter of their names: Alies and Anastasia have the same mother, they are both older than ten, each have birthed seven calves, and have produced over 100,000 litres of milk. Their breeding assessment by the Osnabrücker Herdbuch eG (OHG) is an excellent 87 points.

A record-breaking performance that doesn’t happen every day, as AGRAVIS Cattle Special Consultant, Jörg Foppe, confirmed: “That two cows on one farm both reach 100,000 litres almost simultaneously is absolutely extraordinary. And that they are also half-sisters is about as likely as picking the right six in the lottery.” But unlike the lottery, this success is no coincidence.

High lifetime milk production

For Operations Manager, Heinrich Schmidt, the key to success is his animals’ high lifetime milk production. The numbers speak for themselves: In addition to both record-holding cows, 12 of his 64 other cows have already produced over 40,000 litres. Here, the farmer evaluates different aspects. The first important step for the 57-year old is mating ideally suited genetics. “The breed’s performance potential is already very high. But by selecting well-suited exterior features, the animals can inherit even more vitality and fitness,” reports Schmidt from experience. For this reason and together with the OHG Breeding Advisor, he hand-picks suitable individual genetics for breeding for each cow.

Cow comfort, hygiene, and needs-based feed

Cow comfort and hygiene are additional important aspects that contribute to lifetime performance, according to the farmer. This means daily upkeep of their high beds with fresh straw, sawdust, and the bedding productDesintec Floorcal pH 12 Desintec Floorcal pH 12 for hygienisation of their walking and lying surfaces and regular hoof care. The longevity programme on the farm is rounded out with needs-based feed for the animals. Intensive staple feed production forms the basis of the partly mixed feed ration. Mineral and dairy concentrate feed from AGRAVIS are used in the process. This means that in the partly mixed feed ration, grass and corn silage are supplemented with protein-rich dairy concentrate feed HF TMR 35 HF TMR 35, Vitamiral HF TMR Cattle Vitamiral HF TMR Cattle, as well as with feeding lime and cattle salt. Depending on the performance level and lactation status, the cows are given a base ration of high-energy HF TMR Top HF TMR Top during early lactation and Lakto M-Plus Lakto M-Plus using the robot and feeding station. “With the right building blocks for feed rations, we provide ideal rumen care to keep the animals’ health status and readiness as high as possible,” added Jörg Foppe.

Dry cows

Schmidt also puts particular emphasis on dry cows. The two-phase dry period is supplemented with daily pasturage in addition to needs-based stall feeding, because cows need movement,” said the farmer. Crystalyx Trockensteher Crystalyx Trockensteher is also freely available for the cows. “The lick blocks provide dry cows with ideal preparation for birth and subsequent lactation in the stall and in the pasture,” explains Jörg Foppe. “The intake of supplement feed promotes rumen microbial fermentation, and therefore increases feed digestibility and intake.”

“Above all else I want healthy cows, because sick cows cost time and money.”

For Heinrich Schmidt, it’s clear: A dairy cow herd can only be successful and be led to high lifetime performance with the optimal combination of all factors. “Above all else I want healthy cows, because sick cows cost time and money.” says Schmidt. For him, Alies and Anastasia are not only record-breaking sisters, they are also the shining example that the right combination of genetics, care, and herd management pays off in the long run.

For further information on this topic, contact Jörg Froppe, tel.: +49 (0)172 214 0450, joerg.foppe@agravis.de.