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More trust in the resilience of your cows

Easier work, less problems and increased production”- this was the goal for the Kooiker dairy farm in 2018. With a significant increase in production and a strong decrease in antibiotic usage, Kooiker is now farming in a more manageable way with a healthier herd.

28-01-2021, updated on 15-10-2021
Dairy Farm Kooiker

The sky is the limit

According to Roland Kooiker, there is always room for improvement, but you must keep a look out for opportunities. Kooiker from Grijpskerk (NL) is milking 280 cows with an average production level of 34 kg milk, with 3,5 % protein and 4,4 % fat. Roland compares himself with Dutch top ice skating athletes Ard Schenk and Sven Kramer; stating that, just as the athletes, he must evolve with the sport to keep getting these exceptional results from his cows.
In 2016, he started paving the way to success! Although he has faced a few hurdles. In 2017-2018 the immunity-level of his cows were low leading to Mycoplasma being able cause problems. On consulting with his nutritionist from de Heus (NL), Kooiker discovered a solution to help increase his cows’ immunity. Roland claims, “By using OmniGen AF, I have increased my cows’ immunity and I am keeping it high during stress events.”


Protect your cows against stress

Kooiker’s advice is very clear “invest in strategies that protect your cows against stress. Don’t see this as a cost, but as an investment in healthier and more productive animals. You can never fully protect your cows against stress and cows must deal with this daily. It is not the biggest issue to lose some liters during a ration change, as long as the cows stay healthy. This is how you reduce the number of cows that are “underachieving” and so lowering the overall farm results.” Kooiker, referring to sport, explains “to achieve a high production it’s extremely important to keep the back of the peloton as small as possible”.

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There are no such things as miracle products

Products won’t do miracles, according to Kooiker. If a cow is eating 2 kg of dry matter less, 55 grams of OmniGen AF won’t compensate for that. It’s all about optimizing the framework and detecting the new weak links on your farm. On my farm, this was the cow’s immunity. Luckily this has clearly improved since the introduction of OmniGen AF, causing a big decrease in my overall drug usage and motivating me to trust my cow’s self-healing ability. If a cow has her optimum immunity level, she’s often capable of overcoming new infections.


Heat stress – Arm yourself against heat

“It’s an illusion to prevent heat stress all the time. The past years have proved that our summers are clearly getting hotter and hotter and so heat stress will become more common than ever.” Kooiker emphasizes that you should protect your cows against the heat, in order to prevent cows suffering from the consequences of heat stress, which can sometimes last until the winter.
By investing in different tools, like fans, but also in products with proven results against the negative effects of heat stress, my cows delivered fabulous results during the past 3 summer months, Kooiker testifies. “I’m not saying that they didn’t lose some liters during the heat period, but they clearly recovered quicker and the problems afterwards were less severe.”

To measure is to know

Kooiker likes to emphasize that he pays a lot of attention to measurability of change and will analyse any new strategy that he instigates on to his farm. It’s obvious that there are always different factors that play a significant role in the farm’s productivity, but by doing regular analysis it becomes more clear which strategies are working well and which should be given extra attention. An important tool for me is my periodic antibiotic data analysis to get new insights on my antibiotic usage. By doing this, I’ve noticed a clear improvement in my antibiotic usage and therefore a very noticeable return on investment.

Would you like your farm to be assessed? Please contact our dairy technical specialist.

 

Henco Splinter
Henco Splinter
Henco is a dairy technical specialist based in The Netherlands. With his broad experience in animal feed and health he really enjoys working with farmers towards the optimal performance and health of their animals

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