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Their keys to top-quality milk

Last august, we had the opportunity to visit the top standard of Slovenian dairy farmer. As we can learn a lot from successful farmer, below a brief description of the farm and some tips given by the farmer! 

The owner of the farm is a retired veterinarian. He has 68 lactating holstein cows. As a dairy farm, one of the goals is to sell milk, but they also have a second objective: to sell heifers with good genetics. Over the past years, selection has been made for fat and proteins content. A lot of awards and medals have been won for that. 

The figures
11 000 – 12 000 kg per lactation per cow. Superior breeding work in past and present (selection and overall care cows) is also reflected in high production, as have been five years average yield over 11,000 kg of milk. He went even further (12000 average), but beyond that point there are some reproduction issues that will progress. So now he keeps the production around 11.000.

What is important is the life production per cow: 
On average in Slovenia: 23 000kg per cow. By him: 38 000kg. The aim is to achieve on average 50 000kg of milk per cow. Reproduction and health are the focus.

Main problematic on the farm 
- Reproduction and fertility issue 
- Mastitis and SCC: good management during dry period, with intramammary and systemic antibiotic on high SCC cows

Hygiene strategy
In summertime: Kenolac & Kenopure and wintertime: Kenostart & Kenopure
It is important to have a nice coverage on the teats


Selection of animals based on SCC
Long dry period: 2 months better than 6 weeks, self cure.
Dry strategy:
TMR at 25 kg, stop extra feed and move to a different group.
3 weeks before calving, start increasing the feed again.
After calving: propylene glycol during 1 month. 
Before calving: hoof trimming
Management of the cows: individual follow up & record on the computer

What is a good milking?
Calm! No speed. 45 cows/hour in a 2*6 herringbone milking parlour
Use of water in the milking parlor: no use, just for very dirty udder

Difference maker
As the cow are very healthy (low level of mastitis), pregnant heifers can be sold. 10 to 20% of the income is coming from the sale of heifers. Annual number of heifers sold depends on the number of raised ( successful calves management) and the number of culled cows in the current year (successful mastitis control program).
Results: Annual sales of up to 17 breeding heifers at a price over 1,500 euros! It is an important source of income in addition to milk.

Raw milk distribution automat

Tip for young slovenian farmer
To be a dairy farmer is a hard work, so if you don’t love it, don’t do it!