The Carlssons´ dairy farm was named Herd of the Year for 2020 during the Växa Days 2020 in Umeå, north of Sweden to the great delight and satisfaction of the family. “We are delighted to be named Herd of the Year, something that gives us a real boost and determination to continue doing what we believe is the best for our farm,” says Ulf Carlsson who, together with his wife Liselotte and two of their three children, runs the family dairy.
The Carlssons started to modernise the farm in many different ways and stages since they took it over from Ulf´s parents in 2002. The farm has been in the family since 1965, when his father had 40 cows. Ulf was one of two brothers and always showed a big interest in farming, with a focus on genetics. “As a little boy I always wanted to be surrounded by cows. Breeding maybe is in my genes,” he says.
The biggest transformation at farm management level came in 2014 when they built new facilities for the herd and installed four milking robots. This update influenced their breeding strategy and inspired the family to adopt a clear genetic strategy with sustainable milking cows at the heart of the business.
The hall that was build as an entry to the barn has many diploms showing winner cows, in a way, as a reminder of the “overall” outstanding cows they are breeding. “We have had some cows that have been really excellent, and we have been praised for that too.”
“I think the important point here is the sustainable cows that we produce; I am pretty proud of this. Then, of course, you add in the amount of milk we get, around 11,800 KG ECM,” he says. And he’s also right when it comes to components where Knutby Prästgård, with 245 milking cows, achieves 4.4% for fat and 3.6% for protein with a breed split of 60% VikingRed and 40% Holstein.
When choosing the traits on the Nordic Total Merit (NTM), Carlsson always thinks about the best way to continue breeding for sustainable cows with high production and outstanding health. As the cows are milked by the robots, udder health and feet & legs are traits that he doesn´t want to ignore. “We breed for the most suitable cows for the robots without losing production or putting the cows in an uncomfortable situation. Udder health and good legs are a key focus when we choose bulls,” he says.