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Lifetime Production


Unique survey of high lifetime pro text by Bert Wesseldijk

Despite a lack of official international statistics, the Netherlands can be said beyond doubt to be among the leading European Holstein countries in terms of high lifetime production. 1,970 new ‘hundred tonne cows’ in the past year have taken the all-time total to a striking 24,711. At the same time, the number of cows producing 10,000 kg of fat and protein rose by 211 to 1,925. HI Plus investigated these impressive figures further and looked at the most commonly used sires and the farms supplying the largest numbers of top-yielding cows.

Strikingly, the top ten farms in Table 1, taken together, account for 344 hundred tonners, which equates to 1.4% of the total number in the whole country! Unsurprisingly, the table includes a relatively high proportion of large herds. Three have over 400 cows (Hol-Stiens, Van Wijk and Boonstra) and one has over 1,500 (Vreba). In theory, it is easier for larger farms like these to produce more cows with high lifetime production. This makes the performance of farms 1 and 2 in the table (Knoef and Van Velzen), with 109 and 96 completed lists respectively in the past year, all the more impressive.

Proud leader

In the past year, Eastland Cash had the most daughters with 10,000 kg of fat and protein to his name. On the honours list of bulls siring the most hundred-tonners, he ranks third behind his sire Sunny Boy and good old Tops.


he figures are undoubtedly impressive: 24,711 Dutch cows had passed the production threshold of 100,000 kg of milk by 31 August 2013, and 1,925 had given over 10,000 kg of fat and protein. What was a rare event twenty years ago (especially the production of 10,000 kg of fat and protein) has long since ceased to be unusual. However, these remain excellent performance levels that merit close attention.

Large herds In this article we take a closer look at the figures for the thousands of hundred tonners that have been celebrated in recent years. For example, we identify the owners who have produced the largest numbers. There are currently 15,300 dairy farms in the Netherlands. Given the total of 24,711 Dutch hundred tonners, this should work out at an average of 1.6 per farm. Of course, this is not the situation in practice. The bulk of Dutch farms have not been graced by a single hundred tonner to date, while others seem to be collecting them. Table 1 lists the top 10 farms with the largest-ever numbers of hundred tonners (minimum 26). Table 2 lists the farms with the largest numbers of cows producing 10,000 kg of fat and protein (minimum 6).

When talking about cows with high lifetime production in the Netherlands, the name of Jos Knoef (Big Holsteins) quickly crops up. And no wonder because this farmer, with his family-run herd of over a hundred cows in Geesteren, is the proud leader of both farm tables. To date, Knoef’s herd has celebrated 54 hundred tonners and 20 cows with 10,000 kg of fat and protein. Seven of its hundred tonners are still alive, and that number is set to rise shortly. Knoef reports a Laurenzo daughter with 99,000 kg and several other cows standing at over 90,000 kg. He expects Laurenzo to be one of the next bulls to feature in the league table of sires with high-yielding daughters. “Our 54th hundred tonner was a Laurenzo, and we have other good old cows by him. The high lifetime production was already there on the sire’s side. His own sire Cash and grandsire Sunny Boy produced plenty of hundred-tonne daughters of their own. And in Laurenzo you have a Cash son with a good breeding value for udder health,” says Knoef, who aims to breed for high lifetime production. “We want cows with as few problems as possible. There is no such thing as problem-free when working with livestock, but we do aim to minimise problems. We try to avoid mastitis and cell count problems in particular.” To achieve this, Knoef is consistent in his choice of bulls. “Yield, udder and legs have always been important traits. And they still are, although the emphasis has perhaps shifted slightly away from udders and more towards legs,” says Knoef, who adds that udder health is now an important extra selection tool as well. As are the breeding values of late maturing and persistency. “Late maturing should not be an excuse for low heifer yields, but we don’t like to use bulls with a negative breeding value for this trait. For that reason we steer clear of bulls such as Bolton, with a score of 87 for late maturing.”

duction; who are the top suppliers? Table 1 - Top Dutch 10 farms with the most 100-tonne cows. As at 31 August 2013. Source: CRV.

Table 2 - Dutch farms with the most cows producing 10,000 kg of fat and protein. As at 31 August 2013. Source: CRV.

FARM NAME Mts Knoef-Hendriksen A.A. Van Velzen Hol-Stiens Mts Van Wijk Vreba Melkvee BV VOF Kraakman Prins-Kanis VOF Stuij Boonstra Agro BV Stichting De Schothorst Mts Van Kooten

FARM NAME Mts Knoef-Hendriksen VOF Groot Nieuwenhuizen VOF Haarman VOF Huinder A.A. Van Velzen

LOCATION NUMBER Geesteren (OV) 54 Meedhuizen 36 Stiens 34 Zuurdijk 31 Vredepeel 29 St Maartensbrug 28 Nyeveen 27 Ottoland 27 Reduzum 26 Lelystad 26 Dalmsholte 26

LOCATION Geesteren (OV) Woudenberg Blokzijl Adorp Meedhuizen

Mts. Knoef in Geesteren leads the field in terms of high lifetime production in the Netherlands. The total for this Big Boukje 192 RF VG-88 (Cash x Labelle x F16 x Tops) currently stands at 171,000 kg.

Better plump than bony Bulls that score well on the above traits tend not to disappoint very often in practice, in Knoef’s experience. “I am often asked about the influence of breeding on the high lifetime production figures in our herd. It’s hard to say precisely, of course. But it seems clear to me that breeding has an influence, and possibly a much bigger one than many people think.” A good example of this is Big Boukje 192, a 16-year-old Cash daughter who has racked up a total of 171,000 kg. Her dam is from the combination Labelle x F16 x Tops, so four of the names in her lineage rank in the top 10 of bulls with the most hundred-tonners ever (Table 4, more on this later). “You get back out what you put in,” says Knoef, who also sees differences between the various cow families in his herd. For example, a VG-88 Top Brass daughter - and foundation dam of the Big Anna Jacoba family - was the first cow from Knoef’s farm to pass the 10,000 kg of fat and protein mark. Her daughter by F16 achieved the same feat. In addition, a Sunny Boy daughter out of Top Brass achieved a lifetime production of a whopping 170,000 kg of milk, while her Ferrari daughter and Lord Lily granddaughter also gave 100 tonnes. In other words, four generations of hundred tonners. A VG-88 Jorryn from this long-standing Anna Jacoba line recently supplied bulls for several AI stations. Knoef is currently doing of lot of inseminations with Big Winner, Cricket and Pilot. “The Winners are very correct all-round and also fairly latematuring. We are milking four heifers by Cricket and are very keen on them. We used him in the first instance to improve udder health, in

Farms with 50 or more 100-tonners Given the lack of international statistics on hundred-tonne cows, Holstein International decided recently to conduct a survey of its own. It identified four farms in Europe with 50 or more 100-tonners, one of which is the Knoef farm in Geesteren, the Netherlands. German farm LLFG Iden and Zani in Italy more than make the grade as well. The current European front-runner is Sandisfarne Holsteins on the British Isle of Man, which celebrated its 84th hundred-tonne cow last summer. In North America, three farms with more than 50 of these high-yielding cows are known to date: Kellercrest and Rosy-Lane in the US, with 54 and 72 respectively, and Summitholm Holsteins in Canada, with an impressive 87.

NUMBER 20 6 6 6 6

Canvas daughters for example,” explains Knoef, speaking on the basis of first-hand experience. He sees Laurenzo daughters as model cows in terms of type: not too big, solidly built and with a bit more muscle. “The Laurenzos were even a tiny bit plump as heifers, which I like to see. Better that than really bony. I also like to see heifers with lots of youth, they shouldn’t be too deep yet. That’s why I also think Pilot is an attractive bull.” According to Knoef, the above-mentioned Boukje 192 is a textbook example of how a youthful heifer can continue to develop. “As a young cow she was still a bit narrow and lacking in depth and scored 83 points. Later, she blossomed into a high-yielding cow scoring 88.”

Lord Lily leads the field Besides the farms producing the most hundred-tonne cows, this article also lists the most commonly used sires: both in the past year (1 September 2012 to 31 August 2013, Table 3) and over all time (Table 4). Lord Lily leads the field in Table 3, producing by far the most hundred tonners in the past year. He is followed at some distance by Cash and Slogan. Lord Lily and Cash are also the oldest bulls on this list and those with the most daughters, which of course increases their chances of a top ranking. The youngest sire on the list is Cello, born four years after Cash and Lord Lily. A year older than Cello are Stadel (the only red Holstein on the list) and full brothers Slogan and Addison. Given the number of milking daughters, Addison was used quite a bit less than his brother. The same is true of Ronald and the German Prelude son Proud. Addison, Proud and Ronald sired fewer than 20,000 milking daughters in the Netherlands, whereas most of the other bulls in the ranking have at least double that figure to their name.

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Table 3 - Top 10 bulls siring the most Dutch and Flemish hundred-tonne cows in the past year (01.09.2012 to 31.08.2013). #100,000 = number of 100-tonne daughters, #DAUGHTERS = number of daughters in production index, YOB = bull's year of birth. Source: CRV. BULL Etazon Lord Lily Eastland Cash Etazon Slogan Stadel-Red Newhouse Ronald Etazon Addison Downalane Cello Archibald Proud Havep Marconi

SIRE X DS #100,000 #DAUGHTERS Blackstar x Rotate 126 88.259 Sunny Boy x Cleitus 92 116.444 Mountain x Elton 74 34.191 Stollberg x Cleitus 59 45.728 Aerostar x Secret 56 19.799 Mountain x Elton 50 17.211 Celsius x Nordkap 44 45.165 Aerostar x Blackstar 42 40.882 Prelude x Cleitus 42 16.278 Blackstar x Rotate 30 40.689

YOB 1991 1991 1994 1994 1992 1994 1995 1992 1993 1990

Table 4 - Top 10 bulls siring the most Dutch and Flemish hundred-tonne cows ever. Source: CRV. #100,000 = number of 100-tonne daughters, #DAUGHTERS = number of daughters in production index, % = percentage of daughters producing 100,000 kg, YOB = bull's year of birth. BULL


Skalsumer Sunny Boy Top Monitor Legend Eastland Cash Etazon Lord Lily Etazon Celsius Havep Marconi F16 Rocket C Delta Cleitus Jabot Etazon Labelle Delta Lava

Nehls x Sheik Monitor x Astronaut Sunny Boy x Cleitus Blackstar x Rotate Bellman x Bell Blackstar x Rotate Chairman x Rocket Cleitus x Bell Bell Boss x Bell Ugela x Cleitus

#100,000 #DTRS 1820 1136 672 663 611 493 471 460 448 327

217.869 63.753 116.444 88.259 64.991 40.689 77.064 101.913 31.628 45.105



0.84% 1.78% 0.58% 0.75% 0.94% 1.21% 0.61% 0.45% 1.41% 0.72%

1985 1977 1991 1991 1989 1990 1983 1989 1989 1990

Table 5 - Top 5 bulls siring the most Dutch and Flemish cows producing 10,000 kg of fat and protein in the past year (01.09.2012 to 31.08.2013). Source: CRV. BULL Eastland Cash Havep Marconi Skalsumer Sunny Boy Newhouse Ronald Etazon Lord Lily

SIRE X DS Sunny Boy x Cleitus Blackstar x Rotate Nehls x Sheik Aerostar x Secret Blackstar x Rotate

NUMBER 17 16 15 12 8

Etazon Lord Lily is the youngest sire in the all-time top 10 of bulls siring hundred tonners. In the past year, this Blackstar son sired by far the largest number of 100-tonners, with 126.

Tops and Labelle Cash and Lord Lily have risen to places 3 and 4 in the all-time ranking of bulls with the most hundred tonners. A select group, of which they are the youngest members. In the coming years the pair can therefore be expected to make a serious bid for second place, still occupied at present by good old Tops. For the time being, Sunny Boy’s lead appears unassailable. Which is not surprising given his huge number of daughters. Sunny Boy has sired close to 218,000 milking daughters in the Netherlands, over 100,000 more than the second-ranking bull on the list, his own son Cash. In order to make a “fair” comparison between the number of 100-tonners produced and the total number of daughters in milk, Table 4 gives a ratio for each bull. This is the percentage (%) of the bull’s daughters that have passed the milestone of 100,000 kg of milk. Note that the younger bulls in the table still have a relatively large number of hundred-tonne daughters to add, so their percentage scores are likely to rise substantially. By far the highest percentage is currently held by Labelle (1.41%). As many as 1 in 71 of Tops’ daughters have passed a hundred tonnes! In terms of lifetime production, Labelle stands head and shoulders above his more popular contemporaries Celsius and Jabot. Jabot has sired over three times as many milking daughters as Labelle, although both bulls have virtually the same tally of hundred tonners.

Remarkable Ronald Arno van Velzen’s farm in Meedhuizen ranks high on the lists of 100-tonne and 10-tonne cows. This Aldo daughter Amsweer Maaike 155 is one of the six cows with 10,000 kg of fat and protein that Van Velzen’s herd has produced.

As mentioned above, for the time being Sunny Boy is in no danger of losing his lead as the all-time top supplier of 100-tonners. Sunny Boy also heads the list of bulls with the most daughters producing 10,000 kg of fat and protein. With a total of 286, he is followed by Tops (134) and F16 (89). In the past year Sunny Boy ranked third, with 15 new ten tonners (Table 5). He was pipped to the post by his son Cash and Blackstar son Marconi. Ronald and Lord Lily complete the top five. Ronald’s presence is especially remarkable, given his relatively young age and modest number of daughters. n

Holstein international lifetime production