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Achieving results with reliable genetics from VikingHolstein

Minna and Kari Herranen from Kiuruvesi, in Finland, have a very clear breeding goal: a healthy, strong, sustainable cow that works well on their four robots.

Minna and Kari Herranen from Kiuruvesi, in Finland, emphasize trust as a keyword when they talk about the advances of their herd.

"With us, time is limited, and you have to trust others to do certain tasks. Everything is then based on reliability”, says Kari Herranen. The Herranen family's breeding goals have been, and still are very clear: a healthy, strong, sustainable cow that works well on the robots.

For this goal, they have worked closely to Faba (one of VikingGenetics owners and distributors); this trust has been converted into benefits for this family farm. There are now 35 cows which production has risen 100,000 kg ECM in the barn and there are several cows that milk 15-16,000 kg per year.


Good genetics

The Herranen family has good tools to plan the breeding work and develop the herd and production. In addition to the breeding plan, the farm also performs genomic tests on all the heifers.

They received about forty flushed, pregnant heifers from the core Asmo herd between 2009 and 2011. They want the cows to be long-lasting so that the need for replacement is kept small.

"The goal was to improve the animal material in the herd and then quite a lot of flushes and embryo transfers were also carried out in our herd. Nowadays, we make about five transfers a year."

Minna and Kari Herranen

Herd with even calving

Over the years, the herd has been VikingHolstein dominated. Now they have barely a third of VikingRed cows.

'We haven't actively pursued it, but maybe we've had some decline among the Ayrshire cows and there have been better heifer calves of the Holstein breed. But the Ayrshire animals still have an important place in the herd," Minna says.

Kari Herranen, who is responsible for feeding, talks about the key facts of the herd. As such he says that the average production of the herd last year was just over 12,000 kg ECM, the fat content was 4.3% and the protein 3.6%.

The average calving of the herd is 2.9 and the lifetime production has risen to over 37,600 kg.

Moreover, there have been five cows producing their 100,000 kg ECM under their lifetime, two of them, Ihaa and Juhlava, are still in production.

"We have 220 cows, that is, we have a lot of available capacity, as the sinks are part of the stalls," says Kari Herranen.

The heifers calve at 24 months of age, on average a month later than the target, but this is partly because they want even calving per month.

"We sometimes play with the insemination of the heifers, so that we get even with calving. Partly because of the pricing of the milk, but also because the working hours and the young cattle's spaces are to be sufficient”, Kari says.

VikingHolstein cow

Healthy calves with igloo

The herds´ drift barn was built in 2005 and expanded in 2014. When the barn was completed, milking began with two robots, the third was commissioned three years later and the fourth in connection with enlargement.

During the drinking period, calves are found both individually and in a group igloo with five to six calves together. After weaning, the calves are moved to a larger group and igloo.

The igloos are mainly on compact flooring, under roofs that protect against rain and wind. In the summer you also have igloos under the open sky. The igloos have been used for a few years and the health of calves has clearly improved, which was also the goal when starting with igloos.

The farm grows 320 hectares, including leases. This year it has about 60 hectares in cereals, almost a third less than usual.


Facts of the farm

  • Owners: Minna and Kari Herranen
  • Number of cows: 220 VikingHolstein and VikingRed (33%).
  • Production: 12,000 kg ECM with 4.3% fat and 3.6% protein.
VikingHolstein calves

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