By Connor Lynch
NAVAN — A lifetime of doubling down on type has paid off for Chris Nooyen of the well-known Brabantdale Farms at Navan, east of Ottawa.
The Nooyens have a history in Eastern Ontario. In 2002, the farm had the top-producing herd in Ontario, and have consistently been among the top producing and best managed herds in Ontario, according to Dairy Herd Improvement scores.
Chris Nooyen, the master breeder at the farm, has doubled down on type for his animals to great success. In 2001, DairyCrest Dragoon Kimberly set a Canadian record for three-year-olds, producing almost three times as much milk as an average cow.
Focusing on type came to fruition this past April, when a routine genomic test of a freshly-born calf revealed the Nooyens had just produced the number one type heifer in Canada, Brabantdale Jacoby Armenia, that is also one of the top rated in the world.
He took a risk with the mother, he told Farmers Forum. “We didn’t know how she transmitted. She did better than average.”
But despite plenty of offers coming from around the world for embryos, Nooyen said that he probably won’t be selling any. That’s because the Nooyen family just expanded the farm last year, going from a 60-head milking herd to a 250-head milking herd inside of a year. So those embryos are going to be the future of the farm.
“Hopefully 10 months from now we’ll have some daughters on the ground to cross with some high type bulls. We’re in a good position right now, if we’re aggressive enough with our breeding program.”