Talking to a Dutch dairy farmer

Dec 20, 2023

article by Dairy Academy (Royal A-Ware)

Family Dekker Dairy farm Zeewolde (NL)
(Willan and Miriam and their kids)

Task description: Willian runs the dairy farm in collaboration with an employee. His father-in-law is active on farm on a daily basis. Willan is supported by interns. Miriam works as a self-employed person in the financial sector and takes care of the financial administration of the dairy farm.

Number of cows: 295 and 220 youngstock
Milk production: 9,500 kg per cow per year with 4.33% protein and 3.44% fat
Land: 55 hectares owned and 48 hectares leased. (grass, potatoes, onions and tulips)


Farm coach Bles Dairies provides insight in opportunities at the Dekker Dairy farm

Dairy farmer Willian Dekker is curious on his farm’s potential. He invited business coach Anne Terpstra from Bles Dairies. Willian: ‘Over the past 20 years, thanks to hard work, we have grown from a herd of 60 cows to 295 cows. We are proud of what we have achieved. I’m always looking for improvements.

Starting points

Anne Terpstra is very pleased with the overall appearance: ‘Not only does the yard look proper and clean, also inside the barn it is very well organized and clean. Structure and overview is an important starting point for progress and improvement.


Anne: ‘What do you want to achieve and what goals are you pursuing?’ Willian replies: ‘I want to grow to 300 dairy cows in the midterm, with a milk production of 10,000 kg of milk per cow per year. For fertility, in collaboration with the insemination service, I want to achieve a maximum of 2.3 inseminations per cow before April 2024. For me, structured working is important.

Making gains in claw health

Anne: Claw health is a point of interest.’ Willian: ‘We have had new cow mattresses in the boxes since March. The cows lie down much more now. All boxes are occupied. My expectation is that this will improve claw health in the near future, but the status of claw health does require a new protocol in consultation with the hoof trimmer.’

Fertility management

By registration of the heats for the first inseminations, you can increase the number of successful first inseminations. Then you can inseminate more adequately during the cycle and you have more certainty about the quality of the egg to be fertilized. The ultimate goal should be that at least 50% of the cows have had a registered heat within one month after calving. The chance of successful insemination can also be increased by reducing the number of prepared straws with which the inseminator enters the stable to a maximum of two. A temperature change directly affects the quality of the sperm. Willian: ‘You expose a typical blind spot, created by the power of habit.

Calving management

The dry cow protocol is aimed to dry off cows 45 days before the expected calving date.’ Anne: ‘You are structurally working towards drying-off cows with a daily production of < 15 kg of milk. The treatment with teat sealers provides extra protection against mastitis pathogens.’ Willian: ‘After calving, every 3rd calving cow and older is given a CA/Mg infusion.’ Anne: ‘Practical experiences show that by administering Calcium boluses, cows clean up sooner and therefore become in heat again.

What can a farm coach from Bles Dairies do for you?

Would you like to optimize your cow health, milk production and management or are you facing some challenges? Do not hesitate to get I touch with a farm coach from Bles Dairies. An experienced team of experts can support you in optimizing your dairy farming practices based on your targets.