4 August 1995

Sunny Boy takes over

By Jessica Buss

SUNNY BOY is still a favourite amongst Dutch milk producers, who are enthusiastic about his persistently yielding daughters and high-quality milk.

The Vernooy family have been so impressed with the performance of the Sunny Boy daughters in their 100-cow herd that there are now 40 milkers in total, and over 60 more in the 150-head of young stock on the farm.

The 90ha (225-acre) farm is run by brothers Eef and Herman Vernooy. They employ one full-time employee and Eefs son, Arjan, helps when his studies allow.

The Vernooys dairy herd boasts an average yield of 8900kg at 4.61% fat and 3.56% protein.

Sunny Boy daughters have performed better in their second lactation compared with their heifer lactations. "They have a very level production profile and higher protein, compared with other cows in the herd – and good legs," says Arjan Vernooy.

The family still uses Sunny Boy across the herd, but there is a limit to the number of cows he can be put on. "Most of the maiden heifers being served are Sunny Boy daughters, so we are using Labelle and Celsius on 25% and paying the £42 fine for not using test sires on them," he says.

In return for access to proven semen, Dutch producers are required to use test semen on all maiden heifers by the AI organisations to avoid such as fine. However, Mr Vernooy believes one good bull calf would cover the cost of the fine.

One of the herds Sunny Boy daughters, Gretha 44, out of a Bert dam, was reserve champion at the Holland Genetics Show. As well as being a good type cow, in her first lactation she gave 7852 litres in 302 days at 4.03% fat and 3.36% protein.