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Wisconsin cow sets national milk record

Holstein cow eating grass
TOP COW: Selz-Pralle Aftershock 3918, a 7-year-old registered Holstein cow, has produced 222,000 pounds of milk in four lactations.
Selz-Pralle registered Holstein milked more than 78,000 pounds in 365 days.

Selz-Pralle Aftershock 3918 is the latest cow from Wisconsin to hold the record for national single-lactation milk production for the Holstein breed. 3918 set the 365-day milk production record with 78,170 pounds of milk; 3,094 pounds of fat; and 2,393 pounds of protein. She was born Oct. 14, 2010.

3918 is owned by Scott Pralle and Pam Selz-Pralle of Humbird, Wis. Selz-Pralle Dairy milks 400 registered Holstein cows with a rolling herd average of 30,917 pounds of milk; 1,219 pounds of fat; and 969 pounds of protein.

All Wisconsin winners
Last year, Ever-Green-View My Gold-ET, owned by the Tom and Gin Kestell family of Waldo, Wis., set a record of 77,480 pounds. In 2016, Bur-Wall Buckeye Gigi, owned by the Behnke family of Brooklyn, Wis., set a record of 74,650 pounds. Gigi was tragically lost in a barn fire at the Behnke farm in September. Prior to Gigi taking the top spot in 2016, the record was established in 2010 with 72,170 pounds of milk by Ever-Green-View My 1326-ET, Ever-Green-View My Gold’s dam, also owned by the Kestell family.

3918 adds to this tradition of record-setting cows from Wisconsin.

“3918 is like the missing cow on our farm,” says Scott. “She just does her job. That’s probably why we didn’t realize there was anything extraordinary going on.”

“She’s never been treated for anything, and she always breeds back,” Pam adds. “3918 is a super athlete here who makes a lot of milk and is a testament to the importance of dairy strength, health traits and stress-free cows.”

During 3918’s first four lactations, she freshened at 111 pounds per day and averaged 143 pounds per day over 1,554 total days in milk. She bred back regularly and averaged 75 days for a dry period. Over the course of four lactations, 3918 averaged a 125,000 somatic cell count and has produced 222,000 pounds of milk. To top it off, 3918 has never been treated for mastitis or been in the sick pen.

FAMILY FARM: Scott Pralle and Pam Selz-Pralle and their daughter Jessica Pralle (center) milk 400 cows on their farm near Humbird, Wis. Jessica also is employed as a large-herd adviser for Sexing Technologies Genetics.

“We utilize an activity and rumination tracking system,” says Scott. “3918 consistently averaged over 600 rumination minutes per day, while the average for the herd is 480 to 525 minutes per day. It’s an interesting factor that helps us understand her performance.”

The rumination monitoring system has been a game-changer for Selz-Pralle Dairy. They are now able to identify potential health issues with individual cows around 24 hours earlier than outward signs would normally indicate, Pam and Scott say.

Just another cow
“3918 wasn’t given any special treatment to achieve this record,” Pam says. “She was housed in the freestall with the rest of her 80 pen mates. On our farm, we don’t do anything different than the best practices that are used on many dairies. The key is that we do them every day, and our employees are trained and committed to be conscious of all key factors every day. Our whole effort is to minimize stress and maintain a low-bacteria environment.”

Pam says she and Scott are Wisconsin farmers who are proud of other farmers, too.

“It takes a lot of farmers who care a whole lot to help cows perform at their best,” she explains. “There are many outstanding cows just like her in many different styles of operations. 3918 is a cow that defies many of the myths we hear about the dairy industry. She wasn’t abused or pumped full of drugs. She simply produced high-quality milk with the same level of care and attention that all of our cows receive.”

Giebel lives in Baraboo, Wis.

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