Tatura dairy celebrates healthy success

By Jamie Salter

Tatura dairy farmer Markus Lang has a healthy herd of 2000 cows and attributes his success to VikingGenetics.

“It’s uncommon for herds this size not to have more sick cows and the fact that we don’t have a sick herd for the number of cows we run is something we’re very proud of,” Mr Lang said.

“A big thing for us is simplifying the system, and that includes never having a sick herd and part of that comes from having the right genetics.

“I’m milking 720 at the moment and we’ve only got five in the bucket because they’re on antibiotics.”

The cows graze year-round on irrigated perennial pastures, with a partial home-grown mixed ration on a feedpad towards the end of summer.

This allows the farm to maintain a stocking rate close to 4.5 cows/ha on the dairy platform.

Easy calving, high fertility, improved production and longevity are top priorities for Mr Lang, who said using VikingGenetics as his semen provider was the key.

“Dad started using VikingGenetics about 10 years ago, with Easy Calving Viking bulls on our maiden heifers,” Mr Lang said.

“The results were fantastic, and it was one of the easiest calvings we’ve had.”

The farm has also achieved better production, with nearly 7000 litres herd average, 3.3 protein and 4.2 fat for just under 500 kg.

“The component percentages have been increasing, we put that down to genetics and partly that we’re getting better at nutrition,” Mr Lang said.

The females aren’t tested for NTM (Nordic Total Merit) but Mr Lang tends to use bulls around 30 NTM-plus.

“Fertility isn’t something we put a lot of effort into but through genetics we can passively improve, which is what we’re seeing,” Mr Lang said.

“What’s really pleasing is that we get what we’ve been breeding for; a short stature cow that’s robust, looks balanced, has less health problems and they’re a pleasure to milk.”