2014-04-11   facebook twitter rss

Top Dutch Breeder to Judge Emerald Expo 2014

Nico Bons will judge the Emerald Expo 2014 which takes place at Cillin Hill, Kilkenny, on Saturday April 26. It is organised by the Irish Holstein Friesian Association. This All Ireland and all dairy breeds event has a prize fund of €25K, one of the biggest for any EU livestock event.

Nico Bons farms the “Bons-Holstein” herd in Ottoland, Southern Holland with his wife Lianne, daughters Anouk, Tessa and Ruben. Their 110 acre farm is located one hour from Amsterdam.

Nico Bons

Judge - Nico Bons

Nico has established one of the top herds in Europe, working exclusively with homebred cows and no embryos are purchased. He is a member of the European Holstein Federation’s Judges Panel.

His herd consists of 65 milking cows and young stock. Average production in 2012 was 10,750kgs Milk 4.46 % Fat & 3.57 % Protein. Nico describes his ideal cow as “Capacious cows with frame, having wide rump and correct rump structure with great udders”.

Nico is driven by the ambition to breed the best and develop them into Champions. The herd has claimed a Champion or Reserve Champion title at the Dutch National Show every year for the past 12 years. In 2013 Nico won the Grand Champion at the Open Benelux Show, Belgium.

His main ambition now is to breed the European Champion Cow.

Currently there are 29 cows classified EX and 36 VG. The average is VG-89.1 and the herd is entirely home-bred, as no animal has been bought-in for over 60 years. Cow families are Aaltje, Dikkie, Ella, Koba, Hannie and Roza.

These cows are fed on grass and maize silage, soya, rape etc. Concentrates are fed in the parlour. Show cows are fed ad-lib high quality hay.

Nico took over the running of the family farm in 1999 aged 22 following the untimely death of his father. Previously he had worked in Canada at Bosdale Holsteins. He had also travelled around Europe clipping and selling semen for the French A.I. organisation Genes Diffusion.

The family enjoys the challenge and satisfaction in breeding the best from home-bred cow families. Most of the cows in the herd today can be traced back to purchases made by in the 1930’s.

The Ella, Hannie and Koba’s were introduced during this period when his Grandfather was a cattle dealer.

Bons-Holsteins Integrity Koba 152 EX92 is a four-time finalist at the Holland Holstein Herds Show (HHH). She has bred six milking daughters by different sires including 5 EX and a VG 88 2 Year-Old.

The herd receives a lot of interest in embryo purchases from Europe.

Over 700 embryos have been sold to date from donor cows including Integrity Koba 152 EX 92 and Redmarker Aaltje 51 VG 88.Sire selection is based on bulls that transmit top type with preference given to daughter-proven bulls.

He is cautious about genomics due to the lower reliability in breeding values.

Bulls who have worked well in the herd in the past include Stardust, Redmarker and Lyster.

Recently Goldwyn has left an indelible mark in the herd, though Nico was not a fan of the James son at the outset. Talent has also worked well. Young stock are sired by Sid, Windbrook, Fever, and Lauthority.

Last year Paul Trapp from the USA was Emerald Expo 2013 judge.


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