TPI 99 eleven times in twelve years!
Carole Laliberté, Dairy Production Advisor, Saint-Hyacinthe

Martin et Sylvain GirardMartin and Sylvain Girard have something to be proud of. Having subscribed to milk recording for at least twenty years, the 51 cow Holstein herd at La Ferme Girard et Fils, in Saint-Liboire holds the record in Quebec for total performance index. Their business has earned an IPT of 99 eleven times over the last twelve years (they had to settle for a 98 in 2001).

A TPI of 99 means that, based on nine management and productivity parameters (see table), their herd management values rank higher than 99% of the herds that are registered with Valacta. Around fifty producers receive this honour each year, but the Ferme Girard et Fils is the only one in Quebec who has maintained such an exceptional level of management over such an extended period of time. Congratulations!

The results below show the 2010 TPI calculation for Farm Girard et Fils, as compared to the average.

Parameters Holstein Average 2010 Ferme Girard IPT 99
Milk per Cow (kg per year)) 8,947 10,526
Fat (kg) 343 402
Protein (kg) 287 344
Calving Interval (days) 429 381
Dry Period (days) 67 58
Heifer Age at Calving (months) 26,8 24,3
Heifer Weight After Calving (kg) 600 639
Cows in 3rd lactation or + 43 % 53 %
Somatic Cell Count (‘000 SC/ml) 255 105

Over the course of the last few years, a decision to decrease the number of replacements raised has increased the percentage of cows in their 3rd lactation or more, which explains the one gap where management improvements could be made. On the other hand, a look at the average of the last nine years shows that the farm has a calving interval of 386 days and a SCC of 123,000: two management parameters that are a constant challenge for many producers!

Every improvement made to a point of management, of course, will mean more milk or less expenditures per cow, and therefore larger benefits. On the profit margin from feed costs alone, the Ferme Girard et Fils frees up $5,352 per cow per year, or $1,012 more than average: a difference of $51,600 per year for the herd.

Their secret

A combination of discipline, keeping an open mind and work well done is their secret to success. The brothers have a profound respect for each other and always welcome their partners to the farm with a smile. This positive attitude creates an air of confidence and an exceptional work atmosphere. Not only do they know how to surround themselves with competent people, but they inspire those around them to want to help them to succeed.

As far as we know, Martin and Sylvain don’t spend their nights in the barn… they simply don’t waste their time. For them, efficiency is a synonym of quality of life. Family comes first, and working efficiently means more time (and more money) for leisure to enjoy motorcycles, snowmobiling, and trips south.

The only cloud on the horizon is that the two brothers don’t have a younger generation in their family to whom they can pass the torch. They have decided to reduce the size of their herd in 2011, in order that Sylvain can begin a well deserved pre-retirement.

Martin and Sylvain can be proud of their accomplishments: Ferme Girard et Fils is a model of productivity and profitability, and their accomplishments in superior management deserve admiration from us all.