Bons set to judge Emerald Expo as Kilkenny gears up for dairy show
One of Europe's most successful dairy breeders will be a judge for the Emerald Expo 2014 dairy show in Kilkenny next Saturday.
Nico Bons, a member of the European Holstein Federation's judges panel, farms at Ottoland, southern Holland, where he has established one of the top Holstein herds in Europe. He works exclusively with homebred cows and no embryos are purchased.
His herd has 65 milking cows and young stock. Average production in 2012 was 10,750kgs milk, 4.46pc fat and 3.57pc protein. Mr Bons describes his ideal animal as "capacious cows with frame, having wide rump and correct rump structure with great udders".
The Bons' 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 prize at the Open Benelux Show, Belgium.
The Emerald Expo 2014 event at Cillin Hill, Kilkenny is organised by the Irish Holstein Friesian Association (IHFA) in association with Alltech Ireland, who are the main sponsor. This all-Ireland and all-dairy breeds event will feature competitions in 20 classes and six championships for a prize fund of €25,000, one of the biggest for any EU livestock event.
The show has the support of all the dairy breeds – including Pure Friesian, Jersey and Shorthorn – while the YMA entrants will bring an international flavour to the young stockmanship classes.
On the trade side, new entrants to dairy farming or milk producers planning to expand can meet suppliers of dairy equipment, farm buildings, machinery etc.
The animal feed/health industry, breeding services and other agri sectors will also be well represented, while independent advice will also be available from Animal Health Ireland, farm organisations, Teagasc etc.