Sustainability is running a profitable business while safeguarding the environment

Sofia and Gustav Kämpe started their dairy business in 2008 together with Gustav’s parents, and bought the farm in 2015.  During this time, they built a new barn and increased the herd from 100 to 200 cows. The family also includes Viggo, 10 and Hilda, 8.
 
The Kämpes both work on the farm, and Sofia also works as a consultant to the local community and is a specialist in reducing agriculture-related eutrophication of rivers.

An advisor from VÄXA (the Swedish coop, and one of the owners of VikingGenetics) visits them four to five times a year to discuss their three-year strategy for the business. “Our main goal in the business is to reach 12,500 kg ECM (Energy Corrected Milk) within the next three years. We have used VikingGenetics from the start, and when we increased the herd in 2015, all cows we bought had Viking pedigrees”, Sofia says.

To reach their goal they have decided to increase the NTM (Nordic Total merit index) in the herd by eight units above average. “We know that this is the way to go, as NTM also take health traits into consideration, and animal welfare is important to us”, she adds. 
 
The Kämpes genomically test all heifer calves born, as this is the best solution for them. “We use X-Vik semen on our top 20% and beef semen, currently Angus for the rest”, she comments.  The latter are sold to a farmer breeding heifers for slaughter. 
“When you use a tool like genomic selection, it’s important to stick with that 100% and use the results. We never think about cow families, we look at the NTM. And we have been able to see that high NTM heifers also become the highest producing dairy cows,” says Gustav Kämpe.
 
“Choosing the breeding company to buy the semen from is like a religion. We believe in NTM because it is based on science, so it’s an easy choice for us,” Gustav Kämpe 

Efficiency in focus
The couple have a wide-ranging understanding of the challenges of climate change. Environment issues are important to them. “We need to be on our toes in the dairy industry if we are to achieve the goal of net zero CO2 by 2050. This is also one factor behind our strategy to increase production to 12,500 kg. Efficient cows are good for the climate”, Gustav explains and there is more to do on the farm in this area for the future, solar cell panels and a biogas station, for example. 
 
“The debate about climate and cows is frustrating, but we feel confident it will calm down. Cows are needed in the cycle, and they eat grass which we can’t. Our cattle graze on 60 ha of natural pastures, that would become overgrown if the cattle were not there”, he says.
 
VikingGenetics’ recently introduced saved feed index will play an important role at Torpet Farm. “Feed is the biggest cost on a farm, and if we can breed more efficient cows, that will be great.” They are waiting for the registrations from the CFIT* cameras into the saved feed index, which will be the most sophisticated tool on the market.
Encouraging the next generation
The two Kämpe children are interested in the animals. They have two ponies on the farm and they enjoy riding, sharing their mother’s interest. “It’s so nice to watch them riding, and especially as the ponies are home bred and same age as the children,” says Sofia with a smile.
 
Last summer, when they had visitors to the farm and both Sofia and Gustav was busy, Viggo showed them around and explained everything about the farm, from machinery to the cows. “That made me really proud as a father!” Gustav says. “They already know and have picked up so many things.”
 
Sofia is eager to show the kids that it’s not all hard work on a dairy farm. “We need to show them it’s also fun and let them show others and be proud of what we are doing,” says Sofia. To this end, Sofia and Gustav invited 15 youngsters to their farm aged from eight to16, on a two-day look and learn camp last summer. They learned how to prepare the heifers for a show, how to train them, how to “read” them, and at the end held a showmanship competition. “It was a lot of fun, and the competition at the end was the icing on the cake. We are organising another camp next summer,” the proud parents say. “It was also very good for us, because we got a whole group of heifers trained and handled,” Sofia adds.
 
“We encourage our kids to invite friends and be proud. We will also encourage them to take their schooling seriously to gain a wider perspective on life before deciding on their own future,” Gustave adds. 
  
*Cattle Feed Intake (CFIT) obtained via 3D cameras installed above the cows in feeding areas.

Facts:
3 robots
200 cows, 60% VikingRed, 40% VikingHolstein
Production: 11,500 kg ECM 3.6% protein, 4.3% fat

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