The age of cows on Dutch dairy farms was higher again last year. The average milk production per lactation barely increased, but the increased longevity resulted in higher than ever lifetime production. This has been revealed by the annual milk recording statistics of CRV for the 2020-2021 financial year.
Internationally unique performance
‘Dutch farmers are working towards durable, long-living herds. The importance of better health and higher longevity is valued more than higher milk production per lactation. The trend in the annual figures demonstrates that this strategy is working’, comments Jos Buiting, herdbook manager at CRV. ‘Average lifetime production has never been so high. And internationally, the performance of Dutch dairy cows is simply unique’, he says. ‘High lifetime production is only possible if the health and welfare of cows is good too. And it contributes to the efficient use of minerals and low-emission dairy production’, Buiting explains.
On average 48 days older
In the past financial year, the cows were on average 2180 days (almost 6 years) old at culling. That is 48 days older than in the previous financial year. Along with the higher average age, the lifetime production of these cows also rose by more than 1,600 kg of milk to total 35,600 kg milk with 4.37% fat and 3.57% protein (1,555 kg fat and 1,271 kg protein).
Many more 100-tonners and 10-tonners
The higher lifetime production is also reflected in the number of cows that exceeded lifetime production of 100,000 kg of milk last year. The number of Dutch cows that produced 100,000 kg of milk last year rose from 2657 to 3263. The number of cows that joined the ranks of the 10-tonners grew from 252 to a total of precisely 300.
Higher fat and protein percentages
The average milk production per cow per lactation barely increased in the past financial year. However, fat and protein increased by 0.03% and 0.01% respectively. The rolling annual average per cow at the 12766 Dutch milk recording farms in the last financial year was 9,209 kg of milk with 4.43% fat and 3.61% protein (408 kg fat and 332 kg protein, €2122 economic annual result (EAR)).
0.3 kg of milk more per day of life
The herd size on the milk recording farms increased from an average of 104 to 106 head. The calving interval has remained practically stable at 408 days. On average these Dutch dairy cows calved 3.7 times and the number of productive days increased by 45 to 1,128. On every productive day of life, the cows produced 29.0 kg of milk. This figure was 28.7 kg of milk in the last financial year.