Would you Believe

20,000 kg Cows?

While surfing the social networks this winter, I felt compelled to read a rather interesting discussion. They wanted to know if cows could 'naturally' produce more than 20,000 kg of milk per year. What saddened me the most were the comments that followed. People were incredulous... It was as if were had gone back in time twenty years, when the same question was being asked for cow producing 15,000 kg!
Nowadays, we're seeing cows that produce more than 15,000 kg of milk each year in a large number of farms. As for me, I have no doubts whatsoever about these results. These animals are simply exceptional in the true sense of the word and are kept in very good conditions. Throughout 350 days of lactation, 20,000 kg represents, on average, nearly 66 kg of milk daily. At these production levels, cows attain their peak lactation at about 80 kg and are usually consistent for the duration of lactation. These production levels occur primarily when cows are at their third lactation or more, which is why it's important to work on their longevity.

In reality, when genetic advancement is combined with proper animal care, it's just common sense to see consistently improving performance levels. That's the way it is with every type of animal production. The bulls used for insemination are by far superior to what they were 'way back when' in terms of their genetic production potential, and this is true for every single breed. For example, Holstein's have seen an average increase of 83 kg of milk per year. Logic would lead us to believe that some cow breeds are phenotypically dominant and highly productive and have strong genetics that combined with bulls that have strong dairy genetic indexes, could attain higher and higher peaks. In fact, production is a quality that is characteristically inherited.

In terms of management, we are seeing an increasing number of farmers choosing to milk their herds three times per day instead of two. Cows are getting bigger and bigger and the comfort they are provided has greatly improved. The period around calving has also undergone a number of advances. These practices have resulted in significantly improved production levels. This means that we are seeing many more animals reaching their full genetic potential.

Breeders who have cows that produce more than 20,000 kg all agree on one fact: their cows have an uncommon appetite. It's up to each individual producer to provide their herd with as much quality feed as they need to find out which of their subjects is exceptional. A little work can go a long way to making results a reality and dispel any remaining doubts.
 
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