Farm Progress

Four-year-old registered Holstein milked 77,480 pounds of milk in 365 days.

Fran O'Leary, Wisconsin Agriculturist Editor

February 20, 2017

3 Min Read
RECORD-SETTER: Chris Kestell (left) and his father, Tom, are proud of Ever-Green-View My Gold-ET, a homebred registered Holstein cow that finished her 365-day lactation in November with 77,480 pounds of milk — a national record.

Ever-Green-View My Gold-ET, bred and owned by the Kestell family of Waldo, has set a single-lactation national milk production record.

As a 4-year-old, My Gold milked 77,480 pounds of milk, with 1,992 pounds of fat and 2,055 pounds of protein, in 365 days. Her production broke the record previously set by Bur-Wall Buckeye Gigi, a registered Holstein cow owned by the Behnke family who farms near Brooklyn in Green County. In 2015, Gigi milked 74,650 pounds of milk in 365 days.

My Gold's milk production is more than triple what an average Holstein on test produces in a year — 24,958 pounds of milk.


ALL IN THE FAMILY: Ever-Green-View My Gold-ET, bred and owned by the Kestell family of Waldo, is scored Excellent 93. My Gold's dam, Ever-Green-View My 1326-ET, held the national record for milk production from 2008 to 2015. (Photo courtesy of Sarah Damrow)

“My Gold-ET is an excellent example of what a registered Holstein cow can accomplish when excellent genetics, care and management are combined. This cow excels in both production and type,” said John Meyer, chief executive officer of Holstein USA Inc., in a press release.

“When you see these two things blend together the way they do with My Gold-ET, it is no mystery why Holsteins are far and away the world’s most popular dairy breed. The Kestell family and this wonderful cow are to be commended for their accomplishment,” Meyer added.

This isn't the first Holstein the Kestells have bred and owned that set a national milk production record. My Gold's dam, Ever-Green-View My 1326-ET, held the national record for milk production from 2008 to 2015, when My 1326 was replaced by the Behnkes' cow, Gigi.

My Gold and her mother, My 1326, are both stylish cows. My 1326 is scored Excellent-92, and My Gold is scored Excellent-93. They are both Excellent-95 in mammary.

Tom Kestell says My Gold calved Nov. 6, 2015, at age 4 years and 3 months. She finished her 365-day record on Nov. 4, 2016. Even though her dam had a record-setting lactation, the Kestells didn't realize My Gold was going to set a national record until about halfway through her lactation.

"She averaged 212 pounds of milk per day, and peaked at 242 pounds on test," Kestell explains. "We knew she was milking well, but you don't know what everyone else has."

Just one of the cows
Kestell and his wife, Gin, with their son Chris and daughter-in-law Jennifer, have 94 registered Holstein cows on official DHIA test at Ever-Green-View Holsteins in Sheboygan County.

"We milk 86 cows in 86 tiestalls," Kestell explains. "This cow [My Gold] was never in a box stall. She is just part of the herd."

My Gold wasn't fed a special diet, either. "We feed them all the same," he says. "They all get a one-group TMR [total mixed ration] twice a day, which consists of 130 pounds of total feed and 65 pounds of dry matter per cow."

Kestell says their ration is 16% protein with 68% forages and 32% concentrate.

The Kestells’ herd average is 44,381 pounds of milk with 1,684 pounds of butterfat and 1,367 pounds of protein, ranking it as the top milk-producing herd in the nation and the world.

Kestell says My Gold has four full sisters, "but we sold them all. One is in the Dominican Republic, and two of her sisters and My Gold's only daughter live nearby at the Hesselink farm.” The Kestells have two Excellent-91 half sisters of My Gold on their farm.

"We have embryos out of My 1326, and we will be using those," Kestell says. They also plan to flush My Gold. "She has never been flushed before," he notes. "She [My Gold] is our lowest genomic tested cow. Our second- and third-lowest cows are her mother and her sister."

Genomic testing is supposed to predict the success of a cow or heifer in a herd.


About the Author(s)

Fran O'Leary

Wisconsin Agriculturist Editor

Even though Fran was born and raised on a farm in Illinois, she has spent most of her life in Wisconsin. She moved to the state when she was 18 years old and later graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

Fran has 25 years of experience writing, editing and taking pictures. Before becoming editor of the Wisconsin Agriculturist in 2003, she worked at Johnson Hill Press in Fort Atkinson as a writer and editor of farm business publications and at the Janesville Gazette in Janesville as farm editor and feature writer. Later, she signed on as a public relations associate at Bader Rutter in Brookfield, and served as managing editor and farm editor at The Reporter, a daily newspaper in Fond du Lac.

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