Recently Cow number 697 Wilhelmine from a farm in Medelpad was the first cow in Sweden to produce over 200 tons milk in her lifetime. But high-performing cows are becoming more and more numerous.
Cows that produce more than 100 tons of milk during their lifetime are increasing in Sweden, according to ATL. Among others the agricultural media has spoken with the Swedish Holstein Breeding Association, which annually awards cows with high lifetime production.
– In the beginning we awarded the prize to 20 cows that had passed the 100-tonne limit, the year after 40 and around 2005 80 cows received the award. Since then, the number has been around 100 cows a year, and so it continued until two or three years ago. Then something happened, and today we have around 200 to 250 new 100-tonners every year, Gill Zeilon, CEO of Swedish Holstein says to ATL.
– I think most farmers’ goal are long-living cows because it is expensive to find replacements. Longer lifespan also generates more milk in the end, he adds.
The increase can be explained by better genetics, but also better management.
An average Swedish cow produces around 40,000 litres of milk and has a lifespan of around five to six years. By the way the afore mentioned Wilhelmine that holds the record is more than ten years old.
Today, Sweden ranks 5th among countries with the highest milk yield per cow. Israel is at the top, followed by the USA and Canada, while Denmark is in fourth place.
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