The relation between kg solids to body weight makes Jersey the perfect choice

By Erik Thompson, VikingGenetics Australia
Dennis and Erin Lomax believe the Jersey cow is the perfect choice when it comes to kilograms of milk solids to kilograms of cow body weight. The Lomax’s are achieving an average of 525 kg milk solids from a 475 average body weight cow.

“This scenario equates to a very profitable cow, lower input, higher output, I don’t see the sense in feeding a big cow when I’m trying to keep my feed costs to a minimum” says Dennis Lomax. His conclusion comes from the facts: the bulk of the cows’ diet is grass from the paddock and topped up with 1.5 tonnes of grain (5 kg per day) per cow.

Dennis and Erin have just had their first child, Millie, and are share farming on Roger Peters’ Farm in the lower reaches of the Mitta Valley. Roger is an Aussie Red enthusiast and Erin has come in with some of her own Holstein cows.
Currently the partnership is milking 595 cows through a fifty-stand rotary. The herd is close to 50% Jersey cows and 50% Reds and a small number of Erin’s Holsteins. The milking area is 190 hectares with 70 hectares of those under irrigation. They have another 70 hectares as a run off block and lease another 60 hectares. All silage is cut on farm and 200 tonne of cereal hay is purchased yearly.

The Lomax’s have 320 yearlings and 250 rising 2-year old heifers. The reason for the large young stock numbers is that Dennis and Erin are planning to stay with the Jersey cow when they move to their own farm as they like this cow that gives them high component with lower input. Currently with the mix of breeds, the production is 6,500 litres 4.5% fat and 3.6% protein.

Interested in an efficient breeding plan

Dennis and Erin are very interested in breeding. They discuss their breeding goals with VikingGenetics’ sales representative each year to stay focused on the cow they need.

 In the early years, improvement was needed in udders, feet & legs and cow fertility. All of these areas have had substantial improvement over the last 10 years as very few cows are now leaving the herd with these regards. “The most pleasing thing is that now we are achieving a 15% empty rate after seven weeks of Artificial Insemination and we are more than happy with that” says Dennis.

Dennis and Erin believe VikingGenetics is providing the type of low-cost cow they are looking for and they appreciate the great health profile of VikingGenetics' sires. Selecting from healthy sires has given the Lomax family a better quality of life through calving ease, cow fertility and a very hassle-free cow. “Our Jerseys walk home, get milked and return to the paddock to do it all again and again, with very little fuss”, Dennis states.

The sire selection process is still similar each year with emphasis on udders, teat length (longer), feet, production, temperament and overall health traits.
Challenges on the farm itself are winter pugging (cows hooves sinking into the wet soil and causing damage to the pasture) which goes in hand with the expanding numbers of cows on farm over the years.

Dennis and Erin are set to take their Jerseys well into the future and they see the VikingJersey playing a major role in building their business.

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