Treat, a Brown Swiss at Jenlar Holsteins & Brown Swiss, turned 16 years old Dec. 3. She is in her eighth lactation and has produced over 340,000 pounds of lifetime milk. 
PHOTO BY STACEY SMART
Treat, a Brown Swiss at Jenlar Holsteins & Brown Swiss, turned 16 years old Dec. 3. She is in her eighth lactation and has produced over 340,000 pounds of lifetime milk. PHOTO BY STACEY SMART
CHILTON, Wis. – The farm of Larry and Jennifer Meyer is home to not only one but two cows that have reached the ripe old age of 16. Born in 2005, Malorie, a Holstein, and Treat, a Brown Swiss, celebrated their 16th birthdays this year while still hard at work in the herd. Malorie recently surpassed the 400,000-pound mark for lifetime milk production. Treat is following close behind.
“They’re pretty special cows,” Jennifer said. “They’ve done a lot for us and are the oldest cows we’ve ever had.”
The Meyers own and operate Jenlar Holsteins and Brown Swiss near Chilton where they milk about 130 cows with their children, Brianna, 17, Austin, 15, and Abby, 12. Larry and Jennifer also work full-time jobs off the farm. Jennifer is an independent dairy nutritionist and co-owner of Badgerland Nutrition, and Larry is an outside sales representative at MWI Animal Health. Larry’s parents, Andy and Joan, are also active on the farm.
“We couldn’t have outside jobs without my parents’ help,” Larry said. “My mom feeds calves, and my dad feeds cows. They help us out a lot.”  
Cows are milked by two Lely robots installed in 2017, and the Meyers believe the robots are helping cows live longer. A number of cows over 10 years old can be found in the Meyers’ barn.
“We’re seeing more longevity since switching to robots,” Larry said. “Cows can live life individually. It’s not the level of competition they saw when getting milked in groups. With robots, each cow is on an individual schedule; they can go to the robot whenever they want. For example, Malorie is a night owl who likes to milk at 2 or 3 a.m.”
A&J-Meyer Spy Malorie VG-89 turned 16 June 29 and is in her 13th lactation after calving in March.  
“She’s been a first-service breeding cow nearly all her life,” Larry said. “Her calving interval was amazing the first seven lactations at either less than 12 months or exactly 12 months.”
Malorie’s lifetime production to date is 400,411 pounds of milk, 15,646 pounds of butterfat and 12,187 pounds of protein. Her best record was made at 8 years and 1 month of age. In 303 days, she produced 31,497 pounds of milk, 5% butterfat, 1,576 pounds of butterfat, 3.3% protein and 1,045 pounds of protein. On Dec. 8, she was milking 92 pounds.  
“Malorie is the happiest-faced cow on the planet,” Larry said. “She may be thin and her udder low, but she has such a happy face.”
Jenlar Dynasty Treat 5E-91 turned 16 Dec. 3 and is in her eighth lactation. In her lifetime, she has produced 342,136 pounds of milk, 15,758 pounds of butterfat and 11,959 pounds of protein. As of Dec. 31, 2020, Treat was the third-highest living Brown Swiss cow for lifetime milk production in the U.S. with 407,304 pounds of energy-corrected milk.
Treat’s daughter, Trillium, a 3E-94 cow, also appeared on that list, ranking sixth with 338,650 pounds of energy-corrected milk. Unfortunately, Trillium passed away last spring at the age of 12.
“Treat and her daughter being on the top cow list at the same time was pretty unique,” Larry said. “Not a lot of cows can say that.”
Treat’s best 365-day record was made at 8 years and 2 months when she produced 37,580 pounds of milk, 4.9% butterfat, 1,845 pounds of butterfat, 3.4% protein and 1,271 pounds of protein. Treat has 22 living descendants, including Trix, Twix, Truffle, Twilight and Turtle Sundae.
“Treat is always with the herd, and she likes it that way,” Larry said. “She loves doing her thing. Treat and Malorie are lunch bucket cows. They don’t want to be messed with.”
Malorie’s living descendants are fewer in number, totaling 12.
“She’s outlived most of her descendants,” Larry said. “Malorie’s family is not flashy. They’re just really nice, functional milk cows.”
Both Malorie and Treat have daughters that reached over 250,000 pounds of lifetime milk. Treat also has offspring that have done well in the showring. Her granddaughter, Jenlar Carter Trix EX-92, won the spring yearling class at World Dairy Expo in 2016 and was named All-American.
“Treat’s family has been fun to work with,” Jennifer said.
Treat and Malorie have lived long enough to see three types of milking facilities rotate through the farm.
“These two cows have been on a long journey with us,” Larry said. “They were yearling heifers when we had a barn fire in 2006. We were milking 60 cows in a tiestall barn at the time. We rebuilt the barn, and cows lived in tie stalls until 2008 when we built a freestall barn. In 2017, we added on to the barn and installed robots. Malorie and Treat went from tiestall life to freestall life to robotic life. It’s a cool path they’ve been on.”  
Even at their age, this pair of 16-year-olds still show regular heats.
“When Treat is in heat, she acts like a 3- or 4-year-old cow,” Larry said. “It’s crazy – she’s got a lot of spunk to her. Treat and Malorie are both spunky, old girls.”
Legends in their own right, Malorie and Treat have more than earned their keep at Jenlar Holsteins and Brown Swiss.
“They’re both really good-producing, low-maintenance cows,” Jennifer said. “Treat and Malorie are also small cows, and the cows that last the longest for us are usually the smallest ones.”
Larry said they need cows like Treat and Malorie to pay the bills, which is exactly what these milk wagons have done during their long lifespan.
“They’re cows that have always been there,” Larry said. “We love having them around.”