Call us if you want to see some farms or talk to farmers using Fleckvieh.
Greg and his father Leo operate this farm near the town of Steinbach. The Brauns went to Germany in 2007 and decided to breed their whole herd Fleckvieh. They have found substantial savings on their farm with the introduction of Fleckvieh by being able to reduce the amount of concentrate fed to stock without compromising quality and production. Fertility of the herd has risen over the course of the last years, especially on the animals that are 50% Fleckvieh. Transition of cows has become smoother and milk production has gone up over time. The Brauns like the health traits and durability of Fleckvieh. The cows are housed in a cold barn and do very well in the cold Canadian winters.
Mike and Lori Boesl and their children were intrigued by Fleckvieh many years’ back. A short visit at our booth by their daughter Liz – resulted in some major changes on their farm for the years’ to come. They have been to Germany to see the purebreds and made the decision to breed their entire herd to Fleckvieh. At WDE 2011, they exhibited their first crossbred cows at World Dairy Expo. ‘The breed allows us to add value to our busines enterprise’ says Mike – ‘we want to give our children a chance to be involved in the future; we have decided to add to the quality of our stock – rather than just the size of our farm’.
Owners Hennie Bos and Tinnie Eilers were intrigued by the idea of Fleckvieh when I first met them. Fortunately, they were planning a trip to Holland shortly after my first visit. Hennie then went on to see a dairy in Germany that had used Fleckvieh on his Holstein herd for 15 years. This was enough to convince him to switch his registerd Holstein herd to breeding with Fleckvieh. ‘I saw dairy farms over there that are achieving the same types of production targets that I have – without near the costs of animal health and problems gettting cows pregnant’. Bles Wold has had a lot of F1 crosses freshen. The 1st lactation animals have been averaging 30 to 32 kg (66 to 70 lbs) at 3.8% fat and 3.3% protein and much lower cell counts. Because they also direct market yogurt from the milk they produce they like the breed for milk quality – more CLA and Omega 3 and 6 fat.
As the first farm to start with Fleckvieh in Alberta, it appears that the Primrose family may be the first to ship the last Holstein off their farm and milk only Fleckvieh crosses. Cornel and Cremona looked for a healthier cow with more longevity than was offered by the dairy cows they started their dairy with. They were fortunate to read an article about a farmer using Fleckvieh in Manitoba. They jumped in with both feet – ordered their first semen – and have not looked back since. The Primroses have seen a dramatic improvement in fertility – specifically when breeding F1 crosses. Further to that – they have seen a significant reduction in veterinary / animal health costs and improved components.
As one of the first dairies in North America to use Bavarian Fleckvieh, the Riedstra family has seen the furthest development with the breed. They have used other dairy breeds in three way crosses to determine the strength of that concept relative to ‘absorption’ crossing (keep breeding Fleckvieh). They have found the second cross (F2) Fleckvieh to be even more consistent for type in comparison to the F1 with consistent milk production. At equal days in milk, production volume on Holsteins appears 3 to 5% higher, however, milk components on Fleckvieh (esp. protein) are better. There a good number of cows in 4th lactation now, the farm is in a position of being able to sell heifers and the longevity of the cows has improved significantly. The Riedstra’s are happy to give tours of their operation to see the animals and many farmers throughout Canada and also in the United States have started using Fleckvieh as a result of what they have seen at the farm. As Riedbow Dairy has also done a major expansion and moved to robotic milking they are pleased with Fleckvieh but also with doing a 3 way cross with Holstein and Scandinavian Breeds and some Jersey. Maximizing yield per cow becomes much more critical due to the investment cost going to Laval Robots.