Her story: Thriving in a modern dairy

Dykstra Cow 3967

Meet 3967, whose story continues …

This black and white beauty resides in the Dykstra Dairy herd in northwest Iowa, and she is writing the kind of story that any dairyman or woman dreams of.

She seamlessly transitions, hits all the production marks, doesn’t get sick and breeds back. She’s a cow just being a cow.

That is exactly the kind of cow Darin Dykstra likes to fill his dairy with.

“She’s the kind of cow you would want in a commercial herd. She’s never been sick, has low SCC, great components, breeds back easily and just seems to get better the older she gets,” explains Darin.

Pete Weber, a GENEX Account Manager, adds, “While 3967 hasn’t been sick a day in her life, neither were her dam or grandam. Creating healthy, feed efficient, sustainable, fertile cows that perform – like 3967 – is  our goal at GENEX. It’s why we developed ICC™ as the modern-day selection index. It’s about genetics that you can build your future on.”

Holstein cow
3967 is the kind of cow you can build your future on. She performs and does so while displaying functional beauty.

Outstanding lifetime production

3967’s pedigree contains many names that may be familiar to you. She is a 1HO10128 DENIM daughter out of a 1HO08784 FREDDIE dam with a 1HO06362 CLOVER grandam. In their time, each of these sires excelled in traits contributing to overall health, efficiency and sustainability.

Born in November 2012, 3967 now possesses an impressive production record. Calving in like clockwork, she has already attained lifetime production nearing 250,000 lbs (113,398 kgs) of milk. Fresh in July 2022, she is now on her 8th lactation – YES, you read that right – with a current record over 136 lbs (62 kgs) of energy-corrected milk produced daily. This equates to a 305-day mature equivalent (ME) over 34,000 lbs (15,422 kgs) of Milk.

A closer look at 3967’s eight lactations (seen below) highlights the efficiencies she brings to the herd. Not only does she deliver outstanding Milk yield, but she also delivers great components and impressive milk quality which gives her an elite relative value (RELV) for the herd at 111. 

Generation after generation of high performance

What kind of impact can a cow like 3967 have on a herd? The impact of genetic selection can be monumental! A quick Dairy Comp search shows 3967 is the dam or grandam to an impressive 29 head in the Dykstra Dairy herd. That is 29 head carrying on the trait profile that makes a herd profitable and sustainable.

“I’m very glad we flushed her because her daughters and granddaughters are doing exactly what she is doing. They are long-lasting, profitable cows!” shares Darin.

A closer look at 3967’s progeny further illustrates the impact on the herd. Her eight fresh daughters to date (see image below) offer impressive production yields and Feed Saved (FSAV) values. And that’s enough to put a big smile on the face of Darin and the entire Dykstra team. Creating feed efficient cows has been a focus of ICC™ since its inception, and the data on these eight high ICC™ cows shows that focus has paid off!

Milking daughters and granddaughters of 3967 excel in production (as shown in the 305EC column and the 305ME column) and in feed efficiency (EFSAV column). EFSAV shows the expected pounds of feed saved per lactation for each female. The feed savings per lactation can add to considerable cost savings over the cow’s lifetime.

While ICC™ initially focused on feed efficiency through right-sizing cows, in a recent update to the index (April 2021) that feed efficiency focus was enhanced through the inclusion of feed efficiency traits. ICC™ is the leading index for creating the feed efficient cows of the future.

What does the Feed Saved trait mean?

FSAV represents the expected pounds of feed saved per lactation based on Body Weight Composite and Residual Feed Intake evaluations. Larger, positive values are more favorable.

How do I read FSAV trait values?


Bull A

Bull B

Feed Saved



Given the same production and body size, daughters of Bull A will eat 200 less pounds of feed per lactation than daughters of Bull B.

“3967 and her progeny are exactly what we are striving for at Dykstra’s and all the dairies we partner with. With a focus on production efficiency, sustainability and fertility, 3967 is exactly the kind of cow that makes ICC™ selection and genetics fun!” states Pete.

Her story. A model ICC™ cow.

3967 – She’s more than a number, more than a cow. She was the result of a strategic decision to invest in and prioritize genetics that will position the Dykstra herd for a bright future for generations to come. She’s the kind of cow that goes unnoticed, that works hard day in and day out, lactation after lactation. She’s the kind of cow that makes dairy farming enjoyable.

ICC™ empowering tomorrow’s cows to perform through balanced selection for efficient production, sustainability and fertility.

Cow 3967 – pictured with Dykstra Dairy herdsman Eric Van Wyk and GENEX account manager Pete Weber – is the kind of cow you can build your future on. She’s a model ICC™ cow.

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