BRATTLEBORO, Vt. — A 9-year-old Holstein cow in Wisconsin has broken the national milk production record.
Bur-Wall Buckeye Gigi, bred and owned by the Behnke family of Bur-Wall Holsteins in Brooklyn, Wisconsin, calved at nine years and three months, and set a 365-day record of 74,650 pounds of milk, with 2,126 pounds of fat and 2,142 pounds of protein. In consumer terms, that production equals 8,680 gallons.
Her production breaks the record set by Ever-Green-View My 1326-ET, owned by Thomas J. Kestell, of Waldo, Wisconsin, back in 2010. That 365-day record was 72,170 pounds of milk.
By comparison, the actual production average for all U.S. Holstein herds enrolled in production-testing programs in 2014 was 24, 953 pounds of milk, 918 pounds of butterfat and 773 pounds of protein.
Gigi, who is scored EX-94 3E, was sired by R-E-W Buckeye-ET. She classified VG-88 as a 2-year-old. Then, as an 8-year-old, she gave 61,186 pounds of milk and led the state of Wisconsin and the country in milk production, fat, and protein. She was a 2013 winner of Holstein Association USA’s Star of the Breed award, when her 365-day production record was 52,190 pounds of milk.
Gigi took third place and Best Udder in the 2011 Midwest Spring National Holstein Show. She placed eighth as a 5-year-old cow in the 2012 International Holstein Show at World Dairy Expo, and fifth as an aged cow in the 2013 Midwest Spring National Holstein Show.
Bur-Wall Holsteins is owned by Robert (Bob) and Denise Behnke. They purchased the farm from Bob’s parents, Wallace and Donna Behnke, who bred Gigi.
Bob Behnke says Gigi earns her title of “diva” every day — but it’s worth it. “We’re really sure that she’s a complete cow — her width and length, her feet and legs and udder are out of this world and she really likes to milk,” he said.
Behnke said they will soon start IVF-flushing Gigi, and perhaps do some conventional flushing. And they will continue to choose high production bulls when they breed her. “I think we’ll just stick to making another duplicate of her,” he said.
The Behnke family has long been actively involved in breeding, raising, showing, and merchandising elite Holsteins. Today, they milk 50 registered Holsteins, with a rolling herd average of 32,377 pounds of milk, 3.9 percent fat, 1,256 pounds of fat, 3.2 percent protein and 1,029 pounds of protein. The herd has a Breed Age Average (BAA) of 110.6.
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