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Sources of proudness

taurusastronautmodelsA2evolutionjpgApril have been the occasion of several changes and achievements on my parents’ farm.

Milking robots

First and foremost, after milking something like 1 Millions cows (~30 years,  ~50 cows, 2X a day…figures got impressive !), my parents invested in a milking robot. Launching was pretty challenging, since cows have to bear a pretty disruptive change in their life style (from a gregarious behavior to autonomy in fact). I took a whole week of “holidays” to  help for the switch between milking parlor to automate milking. Despite the 4 hours of sleep per day (we were handling cows 24/7) I really enjoyed the experience (and guess what, I’ve been pretty efficient reading articles in the night, while cows were being milked !).

A second achievement, related to the previous one, is that after one month using the robots three cows outperform our previous milking record per day (mostly the effect of being milked more often), so 3 cows reached 60Kg/milk per day, the best being able to produce 70kg/day. For those of my INRA’s colleagues lacking some references, I generally turn this into “These cows produce around 3 time their weight in a month, producing almost 2 tonnes of milk…which won’t be enough to pay the rent of my flat in Paris’ suburbs 😦 (The milk price was 299€/1000 l for 2013-1) …this is essentially why I don’t own a cow at home ! The impact of robots milking on production is pretty well known, I am just happy to witness it so quickly. Recently one of our first cow out of a “genomic sire” also reached an impressive 50kg milk per day, which is pretty nice for a first lactation…and a sign that our gEBV are not so bad (isn’t it ?)!

Production improvements

A third nice news –still regarding productivity– is that my parents ranked 35th in France in the last “Top List” (the latter rank herd based on their average productivity). The herd reach an average of 11500 kg milk (305d) per cow @ 32 Protein and 34 Fat. While we’ve been for decade within the top ranked ISU herd in France, this is always nice to see that genetic is not disconnected from phenotypes ! I am eager to see what our results will be next year, with the automated milking !

anzeige-hi-13-05-de-bossA forth (maybe a bit outdated) event was that we had our first cow reaching a total life production of 100 000 kg of milk. A funny story is that I used to tell Vincent Ducrocq (ages ago, when I was in master degree) that this cow was the living proof that we believed in the longevity index since her sire had a strong longevity index and was chosen on purpose. Years later, I also wan’t to see here a proof that longevity index are also verified on farms !

Radieuse’s great grand sons on the top gRZG

Last, the new gRZG leader in germany Boss is a great grand son of Radieuse (born and raised on our farm), and its half-brothers ranked 22nd (Platin) and 33rd (Sharp) in gRZG. While we already had several sires positively progeny tested, out of our cows, none reached a “leader” status. So I am very proud to see that this family of cow give such good results abroad.

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