May 30, 2012 - Canadian Cow Sets Record for Milk Production


ShareIn today’s dairy world where the average cow only lives 4 years, it is refreshing to know of a 15 year old Holstein cow attaining the world record for lifetime milk production. Gillette Emperor Smurf, owned by Louis Patenaude of La Ferme Gillette near Embrun, Ontario has produced 478,167 pounds (or 216,893 kilograms) in her 10 lactations – that’s over a million glasses of milk! Only four cows in the world have ever surpassed the 200,000-kg production mark.

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Ontario cow has produced more milk than any other

EMBRUN, ONT.— She is the crème de la crème.

With the equivalent of a million glasses of milk to her credit, Smurf churns it out unlike any udder.

"She is the best producer of all the cows in the world," boasts dairy farmer Louis Patenaude, who’s over the moon about Smurf’s accomplishment.

Gillette E Smurf, as the Holstein is officially known, was recently named world champion for lifetime milk production. Her record-breaking 216,893 kilograms of frothy white liquid makes her the ultimate dairy queen.

"The amazing part is that she’s done it for a long, long period," says Patenaude, one of four brothers who run La Ferme Gillette, about an hour southeast of Ottawa.

The 15-year-old — that’s an old lady of 105 in human terms — has lived more than twice as long as the average dairy cow, he says. And where others average about 35 litres of milk a day, Smurf fills 50. (A litre of milk weighs one kilogram.)

And she’s not done yet, adds Patenaude, noting the still-healthy, "very happy" momma is awaiting the birth of her 11th calf next month.

"She gives her milk but she’s not a cow that likes to be pampered," he says.

The 750-kg animal is content with regular meals of corn, alfalfa and protein supplement and the creature comforts of a roomy box stall. In an act of bovine intervention, Patenaude moved her there to encourage output before she broke the existing record by about 2,000 kilograms.

He credits her success to good care and good genes. Four generations of dams all lived to age 10 or much older, he says. Smurf, whose middle initial "E" stands for her sire Emperor, was named after a young farmworker called Murphy, who bought a share in her grandmother.

Earning the title of world champion is the dairy industry equivalent of winning the Stanley Cup, says Patenaude.

"If the Stanley Cup is the ultimate for hockey, for milk production the ultimate is breeding the world champion producer."

With 1,200 head of cattle — 450 are cows whose milk becomes cheese, yogurt, butter or a beverage — the fourth-generation family farm’s feats are legend-dairy. In fact, they already have a "Stanley Cup," Patenaude says. A bull by that name is so famous for his semen that he’s "back-ordered," says the breeder, who sells cattle semen and embryos around the globe.

Only four cows in the world have ever surpassed the 200,000-kg production mark, he says. Smurf is expected to appear in next year’s Guinness World Records, according to Patenaude, who hopes to milk Smurf’s fame for all it’s worth.