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Nørregaard farm - a pioneer in ProCROSS

Sjaak and Jacqueline Bosma-Jongschaap are satisfied with the milestone achieved in their herd after their decision to use ProCROSS five years ago

Sjaak and Jacqueline Bosma-Jongschaap are satisfied with the milestone achieved in their herd after their decision to use ProCROSS five years ago.

Nørregaard farm is a popular destination for the German ProCROSS tours to Denmark. Anyone who has already joined the tour will probably remember this generous and welcoming family.

The young farmer Sjaak runs the farm together with his wife Jacqueline. They are originally from the Netherlands, but in 2016 they moved to Denmark, where they took over the farm in April 2016.

Until then, the dairy was run with pure Holstein and the breeding was based almost exclusively on Canadian and American genetics. The animals were therefore rather large: "The animals were all huge, narrow and a little too skinny for us," he says.

As a long-term distributor of ProCROSS in the Netherlands, Sjaak was able to accompany many farmers on their journey into this three-way crossbreeding system.

“I have seen so many farms that breed according to ProCROSS. As a breeding consultant, I was able to follow the development very closely, and it was clear to me that it should be this way at our farm, too," he recalls.

ProCROSS calf

Quick start with crossbreeding

Their farm is in the northern part of the country, near the city of Aarhus. They are currently milking 230 cows in a 2x12 herringbone milking parlor. The farm is run as a family business, where one full-time employee and one trainee lend a hand in the daily work.

Around 40% of the herd are still pure Holstein from the herd of origin. “We took over the business on April 19, 2016 and on the same day we started ProCROSS and inseminated the first animals with VikingRed,” laughs Sjaak .

The family does not follow a strict mating plan because breeding is Sjaak's beloved hobby. “We work here with an ear tag color system that was specially developed for ProCROSS and I always look for the right bulls myself. I love breeding, I just enjoy it,” he says.

 

Breeding “uncomplicated cows”

When developing mating plans, Sjaak pursues the following goals: “I want to breed uncomplicated cows with as few health problems as possible. Longevity is also important to me and I also always make sure that my cows are a medium size.

Because of my large herd of origin, an above-average stature is an exclusion criterion for all bulls, even those who are perfect apart from that,” he states.

When selecting bulls, Sjaak also pays attention to good feet and legs, good udders, and functionality.

Bulls currently used on the farm include VR Fanof P, VR Fin PP and Elastar. “I believe in the breeding values ​​of VikingGenetics and trust the data 100%. That is why I fully rely on it when selecting bulls and always choose animals with good values ​​in the NTM – Nordic Total Merit”, he tells us.

Nørregaard ProCROSS farm

High producing herd

Sjaak is proud of the developments so far. For example, he mentions an increase in the average lifetime production of the herd from 30,000 kg ECM to 41,500 kg ECM within the last few years.

He adds that the milk components also increase with each ProCROSS generation. For example, the fat percentage of his generation of older cows is 4.09% fat, while the herd average is already 4.27% fat.

When it comes to production goals, Sjaak thinks realistically and economically. “It doesn't help us to stand at 12,000 liters while we have to buy too much additional feed, making the ratio between input and outcome inefficient”, he analyses.

“I prefer the animals to produce moderately and feed well on our self-produced fodder, otherwise it is not economical for us. Accordingly, the feed efficiency also must be right,” Sjaak adds.  

 

Functional cows at sight

He also makes it clear that he does not want to breed for the beauty of the animals, but to have purely functional cows. “My animals don't have to be pretty; they have to be powerful,” he laughs.

As a short anecdote, he reminds us that two of his animals have graced the cover of the ProCROSS catalogs and are still pulsating all over the media. “We even photographed five animals in total and two of them made it onto the cover,” he says.

Through the stable, it is possible to see many compact, good-looking animals with good udders; all of them make a very good impression.

Read more ProCROSS cases here
ProCROSS cows