“We have grown along with AHV!”
Today we were the guests of dairy farm P. and T. Dekker. A customer from almost the very first hour! Not only we at AHV are proud of that, but brothers Pieter and Theo also proudly talk about their cooperation with AHV and the results they have achieved.
About the farm
For dairy farm Dekker, it all started in 1956 when the former owner of the farm unexpectedly died. As Pieter and Theo’s father was known to this owner, because of the milking he occasionally did there, he was asked to take over the business. So, that is what he did. Soon, the farm grew from 10 cows to about 60 cows in 1979, when Pieter also joined the business. In 1988, brother Theo joined as well, and the farm continued to grow to 90 cows and they built a new barn.
Today, there are around 100 cows on the farm. These are pure Holstein cows. In addition, there are 50 young stock on the farm. The farm practices outdoor grazing and milks in a 2×11 milking parlour. The average milk production is around 9500 litres with a lactose level of 4.5, protein of 3.55, and fat of 4.4. Pieter’s son will soon take over the farm and the brothers are proud of that. “There is nothing healthier than a family business”, they indicate.
“Keeping animals healthy that is and remains our goal!”
It all started six years ago for Pieter and Theo. The brothers had been looking for natural alternatives to improve animal health and longevity, and thus reduce the risk of resistance on the farm for some time. Theo says they do everything they can to get and keep their animals healthy. “We do not give up on our cows that easily and we always do everything we can to keep (and get) them healthy. Sometimes this takes a day, sometimes a few days, and sometimes they do not perform well for a whole lactation. However, this is no reason for us to immediately say goodbye to such an animal. We like to give them a chance to get as old as possible”, Pieter says.
The average age on the farm is currently around five years old and the average age at culling is around seven and a half years old. Animal health is therefore considered of high priority for the brothers. With this in mind, they confidently set to work with AHV. The dairy farmers soon noticed that the animals remained healthier and udder health in particular improved greatly on the farm. Thanks to these positive experiences, they continued to rely on AHV’s services and products.
“Not only us but AHV also continues to evolve”
When Pieter and Theo started with AHV six years ago, the complete AHV product and program portfolio as we currently know it was not yet available. Therefore, the brothers started with only a few products and managed to expand this every year. They simply grew along with AHV. “I remember very well that we started with the AHV Extra and AHV Quick Tablet, these were the only products from AHV back then. However, the AHV Aspi Liquid was soon added to the product portfolio and in the following years, more and more new products were added. That’s what we like about AHV: you keep developing. Not only do you improve products like the Aspi, which is now also available as a tablet, but you also bring new products onto the market. Moreover, we notice that the support from the AHV Farm Advisor has changed and improved.” says Theo.
When we ask the two brothers what they expect from us in the coming years, we are advised to definitely keep improving and developing the portfolio. “Keep listening to the dairy farmers and keep on developing together. There are still challenges on the farm for which there are no natural solutions. If you continue to innovate and develop products for these challenges, we will be the first to take part immediately. We have that much confidence in AHV,” says Theo.
On-farm udder health greatly improved
With six years of experience, the men know better than anyone how to use AHV products. To optimize udder health, they regularly use AHV Aspi, AHV Quick and/or AHV Extra Tablet. “We closely monitor the cows’ data and see that as an important tool to adjust animal health. Should we see a somatic cell count (SCC) level in a cow for the first time that we are not satisfied with, we always try to address this with the AHV Extra and AHV Aspi first. You do not always see immediate results, but neither do you with other remedies. If we have a cow that has had udder health challenges before, we add Quick in addition to the Extra and Aspi. After all these years, we are still positive about the result and despite the fact that you do not always see immediate results we believe it is better for the cow, which is why we continue with it,” says Pieter.
The SCC on the dairy farm fluctuates somewhat between 100 and 150. However, Pieter and Theo want to stay structurally at that 100 in the coming years. “We are not really unsatisfied with the current udder health, but our goal is still to keep the SCC constantly below 100,” Theo says.
Proactive protocol around calving
Despite having started with the AHV Udder Health Program, Theo and Pieter are perhaps even more rigorous in using the AHV Transition and Fertility Program. The results of using this program really stand out for them. The brothers indicate that they are most surprised regarding the effect of the AHV Metri Tablet.
“Since we have been using this program, the placenta actually always comes off well and the cows really start up a lot better. The first heat is also much better and more noticeable. This clearly indicates to us that the cows have been cleaned up well and it also definitely improves the fertility of the cow. However, it took some time getting used to it, because normally we gave an after-birth bolus from behind and not orally. But we are now extremely satisfied with this program and will definitely not abandon it.” says Pieter.
The brothers often provide an AHV Booster Tablet two weeks before calving to give the cows a bit more energy during this intense period. Around calving, they give an AHV Milk Start Tablet, AHV Metri Tablet, AHV StartLac Paste and/or AHV Aspi Tablet. Since there is a need for proper minerals around calving, they give the AHV Milk Start Tablet and AHV StartLac Paste. These products ensure adequate intake of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, dextrose, and active vitamin D3. Not only to stimulate optimal delivery, but also to give the muscles enough strength to contract when getting the afterbirth off. It also reduces the risk of milk fever and subclinical hypocalcaemia. The AHV Metri Tablet improves uterine hygiene, stimulates placental release, and supports animal welfare. The AHV Aspi supports the immune system during the recovery period, promotes the cow’s general well-being, and thus gives her the necessary rest around calving.
Why do you continue to use AHV?
We are naturally very curious as to what has been the main reason for Pieter and Theo to start using AHV, but also certainly why they continue to use AHV. The dairy farmers say that several things come into play. “The most important thing for us was, is, and always will be the animal. We want to keep our cows healthy and, above all, extend their lifespan on the farm. If your cows age, it is not only better for the animal, but in the end you also earn more as a farmer. Besides, if the cows stay healthy, we simply have much less need to use antibiotics. That is an added benefit, especially when you see how society and rules are changing in this. Not to mention the chance of resistance decreasing significantly.”, Theo said.
Pieter adds to Theo and says that in addition to these benefits, ease of use and not having to throw away the milk certainly play an important role in choosing AHV. “You no longer have to worry about the milk ending up in the tank and you can just keep selling the milk. Sometimes you give three pills in one go through the bolus shooter and then it is done. So, apart from convenience, it ends up delivering more milk. Of course, AHV’s products also have a price, but you then earn that back in milk yield and animal health.” says Pieter.
The future of the dairy farm
When talking about the future of the business, for Pieter and Theo there is no debate whether AHV will remain part of it. “If you keep doing what you are doing, you will keep us as happy farmers by your side. Together with the AHV Farm Advisor, we are looking in good spirits at what the future will bring us. As discussed earlier, animal health remains the most important thing for us in the years to come. Hopefully we will be able to extend the lifespan even more in the coming years and keep the animals healthy for even longer.” state both men.
A nice ending to the pleasant conversation we were able to have with the two dairy farmers. We would like to thank Pieter and Theo for their time and especially for the years of pleasant cooperation. We hope to be able to continue optimising animal health together for the next ten years as well!
About the dairy farm
Dairy farm P. and T. Dekker has around 100 Holstein cows and 50 calves. The cows have an average milk production of 9,500 litre with a lactose % of 4,5, protein % of 3,55 and fat % of 4,4. The farm has a grazing system and the cows are milked in a 2×11 milking parlour.
These products are used by P. and T. Dekker
AHV Quick Tablet
AHV Extra Tablet
AHV Aspi Liquid
AHV Booster Tablet
AHV Metri Tablet
AHV Startlac Paste
AHV Milk Start Tablet
Get in touch!
Would you like to be visited by an advisor to discuss the health challenges on your farm together? Our AHV Specialist will be happy to visit you to jointly assess the health of your cows and come up with appropriate cow-specific advice.
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