The couple behind VR Wild: “NTM is what counts for us”

Nita and Jakob Gade have 385 Danish Red cows on their Stakildgaard farm, and their breeding strategy links in NTM to achieve the best possible end results.
Jakob and Nita Gade outside the stable on a windy day.
By VikingDenmark
Nita and Jakob Gade in Skals, genomically test all their female livestock and are in no doubt that focusing on NTM is the way forward. Their best heifers are inseminated with conventional bull lineage to see if the pregnancies can produce a bull for Viking, the middle group get sexed semen while the lowest ranged group get conventional semen. The Gades have a stringent plan, but it is only a few years since their breeding consultant presented an overview of how their cows were performing which showed them that their high performing livestock also had high NTM:
“There was a clear difference in monitoring performance, so that was the day all doubts were swept aside,” Jakob Gade says.
He also views genomic tests as a good tool for the time the Gades will need to sell livestock. At the moment, they have use for all the animals they breed, as they built a new cowshed in 2016 and expanded the herd from 220 to 385 cows, but they will shortly have to put a stop to more numbers, at which point it will be worth knowing which cows to divest.
The Gades installed a Heatime system at Stakildgaard when they increased the herd from 220 to 385 cows and are delighted with the results.

Cooperation with VikingGenetics

There's no doubt that the Gades are keen on the breeding side, but neither of them is nerdish when it comes to bulls. That is a task they delegate to their breeding consultant, Kristina Vanggaard Brødbæk. She drops in for a chat a couple of times a year, where they review and adjust the strategy, if necessary:
“At one time, we had a few challenges with udders, so we asked Kristina to take a look at this when choosing a bull,” Nita Gade says.
VikingGenetics also monitors when there are potential candidates for flushing and then contacts the Gades. They think this is a good service and they are pleased to accept a flushing contract when offered one.
“A contract is quite clearly a financial carrot that can help to pay for flushing, and VR Wild is actually an ET calf from a flushing contract,” says Jakob.
VR Wild
The Gades have sold five bulls to VikingGenetics over the last two years, namely VR Fumble, VR Horatio, VR Funder, VR Frodo and now VR Wild. VR Fumble was discovered by chance, as the then feed manager had earmarked it as a heifer calf, but on testing, they discovered it was actually a bull – and a good example of its kind. In other words, a simple mistake can sometimes lead to something really good.
Dam of VR Wild.
RDM Champion: Nita Gade loves taking part in cattle shows and has attended the National Show for many years with former feed manager Tommy Bendtsen and father-in-law Jens. This year they came home with the title Best Danish Red heifer of the year and for two years in a row – 2016 and 2017 – they have been able to boast of having the Danish Red Champion cow. Tommy Bendtsen with the 2016 winner. 

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