Norwegian Red Crossbreeding for Sustainable Success in New Zealand

Time to read: ca 1 min
Bart Luitjen farm in Winton, Southlands, NZ. Photo: Knut Ingolf Dragset
"Norwegian Reds offer exceptional performance in our grazing system with their ability to maintain conditions while sustaining high production levels. I particularly value their robustness, strong fertility, and overall adaptability to our farming practices."
Bart Luitjen
Cows in milk
Spring Block Calving (all year round grazing)
New Zealand
Average annual milk production / cow
570 Kg of milk solids

Bart Luitjen, a seasoned dairy farmer from Holland, shares insights from his two-decade-long farming venture in Winton, Southland – the southern tip of New Zealand. Milking 440 cows on 145 hectares of lush pasture, Bart operates within New Zealand's unique grazing system, allowing his cows to roam outdoors all year round.

In terms of production, Bart measures success in kilograms of milk solids, focusing on both fat and protein. Despite facing challenges in a particularly dry year, he typically achieves an impressive 570 kilograms of fat and protein per cow over a seasonal calving system.

Bart's journey with Norwegian Red began about 12 to 13 years ago, sparked by a keen interest in crossbreeding. His initial exploration involved experimenting with Norwegian Red's popular sire, Braut, and the Norwegian Reds quickly proved their worth in his system. Opting for a three-way rotation, Bart started with Holstein herds, progressing to Holstein Jersey crosses, and eventually introducing Scandinavian Reds, including Norwegian Reds, back into his herd.

When asked about the main differences he observes in Norwegian Red crosses, Bart highlights their exceptional performance in the grazing system. He notes their ability to maintain conditions while sustaining high production levels—a quality sometimes unfamiliar to farmers accustomed to different physical characteristics in their cows. Bart commends Norwegian Reds for their robustness, strong fertility, and overall adaptability to his farming practices.

In this brief yet insightful interview, Bart's experience serves as a testament to the positive impact of Norwegian Red crossbreeding, contributing to sustainable and prosperous dairy farming in the scenic landscapes of New Zealand.

Dairy Talk with Bart Luitjen