CRV recently installed 40 roughage intake control feeders at Wietse Duursma’s dairy farm in Bellingwolde. These feeders measure the individual feed intake of the herd of 300 dairy cows. The measurements are vitally important in revealing the genetic variation in feed efficiency and further improving breeding values. ‘By working toward better feed efficiency, I can cut my feed costs by 2 cents per kilo of milk in the long term’, says Duursma. ‘As I supply three million kilos of milk every year, that converts to a financial gain of € 60,000.’ Duursma also mentions the positive benefit that more efficient utilisation of the feed ration has on the environment, as it reduces greenhouse gas emissions and uses up fewer scarce resources. ’So, it’s a win-win situation all round.’
Leading the way in breeding for efficiency
CRV started measuring the individual feed intake of herds at the Alders family farm in Overloon in July 2017, followed by the van Gastel family in Nispen. More than a month ago measurements started at the Vroege family in Dalen and now the Duursma farm has joined the initiative. In the meantime, 30 feeders have been installed on the Meerkerk dairy farm in Emmer-Compascuum for their herd of 200. This brings the total to five farms where CRV is currently collecting feed intake data and gives CRV a leading position in breeding for efficiency.
CRV invests € 2 million in data collection
Wealth of valuable data
Data collection on the five farms is not just limited to statistics on feed. The feed intake behaviour, milk production, water consumption and weight are also registered. Van Goor: ‘And claw health data and other health and fertility data is also available. This wealth of data allows us to use targeted breeding to select cows that offer good longevity, great health and produce milk efficiently.