Dairy tries cross breeding, but returns to Holsteins

Dairy cows munch on their total mixed ration in the Philipsen Farms dairy barn near Lacombe, Alta. The 340 cows are milked three times a day. All are registered Holsteins.  |  Barb Glen photo

This is the third in a series of three features on dairies visited during the Western Canadian Dairy pre-conference tour

LACOMBE, Alta. — The Philipsen family tried a cross-breeding program for their dairy near Lacombe, Alta., but then returned to the tried and true registered Holstein breed for their 340-cow operation.

Arie and Dineke Philipsen, daughter Dianne and son Harm showed off their dairy March 7 to the pre-conference tour of the Western Canadian Dairy Seminar and answered visitors’ questions about their business.

“We quit crossbreeding here,” said Arie. “We did a little bit with Brown Swiss, Fleckvieh and Swedish Red. The big problem was udders. Udders, udders, udders.”

He was seeking superior legs, udders and fertility but that didn’t happen with the crossbreeding program. Now it’s all Holstein, all the time, and the dairy recently bought more than 100 dairy heifers from the United States to add to the herd. The farm doubled the size of the barn this year and last year erected a feed mill to process its own rations. The farm comprises about 1,000 acres.

The dairy is freestall with a two by 12 parallel milking system. Cows are milked three times per day and average daily milk production is 35 kilograms per cow.

In addition to the four Philipsens, the work gets done by one full-time and three part-time employees.

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