The Verhoef family of Ontario, Canada, attribute their herd’s high production and award-winning reproduction to their attention to detail and demand for perfection. Read on to learn about the animal management and repro protocols that earned this 240-cow dairy Platinum recognition in the International category of the GENEX Excellence in Genetics & Reproductions awards.
Reinoud and Klaartje Verhoef immigrated to Canada in 1999 and began milking cows on a 100-acre farm with an old tiestall facility in London, Ontario. Within five years, Verhoef Dairy Farm Inc. had its first freestall barn and in the last two years they have built a new state-of-the-art facility.
Today, Reinoud, Klaartje and their children, Rick and Julia, along with one full-time employee, Steve, manage the farm of approximately 240 milking cows.
The Verhoef’s milking herd production is amongst the highest in Ontario at around 39 kg./cow (85 lbs.) with 4.0% fat and 3.25% protein. They rank first within their county (of 33 other herds) for management score based on DHI milk recording and 43rd out of 3,113 herds in all of Ontario.
Cows are milked three times per day, and comfort is paramount with the use of sand in calving pens as well as in the freestalls. Youngstock are raised in hutches and then moved to the older freestall facility for breeding and raising until calving.
Introduced to Double Ovsynch a few years ago by their vet, Reinoud and Klaartje quickly noticed the increased conception rates and, along with activity monitors and a sort-gate, reproduction efficiency has greatly improved. First service breedings are almost 100% compliant with the Double Ovsynch program with a conception rate of 64%. First service average Days in Milk (DIM) is 80 (with a range of 77 to 84). The pregnancy rate is 38%, service rate is 70% and an astonishing 97% of cows are pregnant by 150 DIM.
There is no current protocol for re-synchronization as herd health is every two weeks and any cow with issues is handled on a case-by-case basis.
Reinoud and Klaartje attribute much of the dairy’s success to their attitude for perfection and attention to detail. Both are continuing to educate themselves on the latest in animal health and husbandry technology as well as instilling this love of the farm with their children. Rick and Julia are both attending the University of Guelph and have interest in dairy farming when their studies are complete.
The Verhoef family has had a long history working with GENEX Canada. They have used the MAP, Dairy Performance Navigator and Sort-Gate programs and are always excited to work with their sales representative Hans Brus.
They appreciate the focus on health traits, particularly Daughter Pregnancy Rate, and speak highly of sires they have used in the past including FREDDIE, DON JUAN, CABRIOLET and TABASCO. Future genetic plans include increased use of sexed semen as well as interest in A2 milk and genomic testing.
The passion the Verhoef family has for dairy farming is contagious! Continuing to find ways to improve will remain a focus as well as ensuring they take time to enjoy life!