Kluitjieskraal Jersey Stud has established itself as one of South Africa’s top Jersey studs, and has a string of SA Stud Book Elite awards to prove it. The Schoonwinkel family, who owns the stud, has been farming Jerseys on its mixed farms near Swellendam in the Western Cape, and selling its milk to a nearby cheese factory, for many years.
“Doing this made sense, as it enabled us to make better-informed breeding decisions by
giving us access to more genetic information.
To identify the optimal genetic matches for the stud, the Schoonwinkels use the World Wide Sires program Select Sires Inc, which is free and open to any breeder. Schoonwinkel particularly likes the fact that it is unbiased and includes genetic suggestions from a broad range of companies.
last measure describes the genetic potential for udder conformation in terms of a number of sub-indices, namely udder height, width and depth, as well as placement, length and thickness of the teats.
The farm does not have a specific breeding season. Rather, cows are inseminated every day
of the working week to ensure a constant supply of milk. The stud comprises 1 600 animals, and an average of 750 heifers and cows are in milk throughout the year. The cows are milked twice a day in a fishbone parlour, with a capacity of 48 animals at a time.
All the calves are weighed at birth and the top 40 bull calves are selected immediately after birth for rearing, based on their genetic records and physical traits. The rest are culled.
The results are incorporated into the breeding records, and cows that don’t make the grade are culled. Heifers are weighed again at 12 months, by which time they should have reached their target weight of 260kg, and inseminated. Cows are inseminated 50 days after calving.
Schoonwinkel and his team administer hormone treatment (as a fertility booster) to cows that have not shown signs of heat by 60 days of being in milk.
containing on average 5,03% butterfat, 3,99% protein and a somatic cell count of 136 000.
Nature vs nurture
management system, and CowManager.
The rations are carefully pre-formulated to accommodate the nutritional needs of the cattle. The feed concentrate in the parlour contains about 17% protein and a variety of essential minerals and vitamins; in the camps , the cattle receive a high-protein ration comprising oats and maize silage produced on the farm, in combination with lucerne and
Great care is taken to ensure that calves get off to a good start, as they are the farm’s
future income generators. The cows, and especially the heifers, calve in camps near the main building to allow Schoonwinkel to address complications more easily.
“初乳含有抗体和免疫球蛋白that help protect the calf against disease until its own immune system has developed,” explains Schoonwinkel.
The calves are taken away from the cows and placed in calf crates when they are a day old. Each receives 1,5ℓ of milk twice day, which is gradually increased to 2,5ℓ twice a day by the time it is three weeks old.
From 10 days, the calves are given feed and finely ground hay to simulate rumen development. The feed comprises a premixed formulation, SS 200, combined with canola
oilcake, molasses, maize, barley and lucerne.
“Moving the calves into small groups before sending them off to the rest of the farm helps reduce weaning stress and improve calf health,” says Schoonwinkel.
The farm’s main disease threat is cryptosporidium, a microscopic parasite that causes diarrhoea and can also lead to pneumonia.
“We’ve tried many tricks to root out this disease, but with no success so far. We’re now
contemplating building new calf crates,” he says.
“The genetics improve so fast that it doesn’t pay to keep the cows longer. They need to be replaced by their significantly better-performing daughters. In fact, the genetics improve annually, so we want to ensure we have the most profitable cows in milk with each cycle,” says Schoonwinkel.
Email Arno Schoonwinkel at[电子邮件保护]