Our next tour takes us to Bois Seigneur Holstein which is located at Bois Seigneur Isaac, 20 km under Brussels in Belgium.
Who are the owners of the farm and how long has the farm been operating?
The farm is operated by Eddy and Annie Pussemier as well as their son, Jonas Pussemier who is 50% owner. Jonas will be the 4th generation to take over the farm that was built in 1904.
What is your Farm Size, crops grown, any do you venture in any other enterprises?
We cultivate 94ha of sugar beets, cereals corn and grass. Dairy products such as cheese, ice cream and yogurt are sold off the farm as well. We have an automatic milk-distributor along the road as well.
What is the number of Cows & Young stock that is on your farm? What breed does your herd consist of?
Our Holstein milking herd consists of 55 cows. We have a total of 155 head which consists of Cows, young heifers, Dry cows and some bulls that we sell.
How many Employees are on the farm?
Bois Seigneur Holstein is a family run operation. The operation is run by Eddy, Annie and Jonas Pussemier.
What is your Average annual milk yield/cow?
Our Average milk yield is around 10000kg/cow. 4.0%F and 3.3%P. During our summer months we do see this decrease slightly. Our hope with the robotic milker is to resolve this and have a consistent fat and protein score all year long.
What is the Diet for your milking cows & Young stock?
A TMR mixture if fed to our Cows. The young stock is fed grass with a concentrate.
What is your Milk price per litre? Is the production for cheese, yoghurt, liquid milk?
The Milk price basis is currently 32€/liter. We transform around 10% into cheese, ice cream and yogurt.
What is your farms Breeding objectives & considerations?
Eddy Pussemier purchased Comestar Laurie Sheik in a co-ownership in 1989. This paved the way for us to continue breeding for high conformation cows. We are actively involved in the show life and it is something we love. Life is too short to be milking ugly cows!
What Sires are currently being used on your farm?
Within our herd we are still using bulls like Dempsey and Gold Chip. We have also been using Cinderdoor, High Octane, Chief, Impression, Expander, Solomon, Brash, Emilio, Unix
What temperature extremes do you deal with on your farm and how do you manage them?
We are very fortunate with the weather and do not have to deal with any really extreme temperatures. It rains often, with the exception of this Spring. Some days in the summer the temperature reach 30°C and in the winter low temperatures can be seen around 5°C. Our barn has isolation in the roof so there is no real need for fans. If the temperature is really hot, we will spray the cows with water when they are being milked, but this is a one off and is rarely needed to be done. In the winter the only issue we are ever faced with is the water occasionally freezing.
When in the pasture we have lots of trees that provide shelter for the cattle when it’s too sunny.
What Type of Cow housing is provided to your herd?
We are currently in the process of building a new barn for the cows which will have one robotic milk located in it. Our herd had outgrown our old barn which was only allowing 4m for each cow. The old barn will still be used and it consists of a straw bedding pack with slated floors. Our new barn is being equipped with deep straw stalls as well as slatted floors. All our young cattle are on the straw packs with slatted floors as well. Our Calves are kept in individual hutches.
What Type of parlour system is used on your farm?
We are currently milking twice a day in a 2×6 parlour. With the completion of the new barn we will be making the switch over to the robotic milker.
How does the classification system work in your area?
The classification system in Belgium is not the same everywhere. In the north part of Belgium (Flandres), it’s the same system as Holland (CRV). In our part, the French part (Wallonie), the classification system is the same as Canada. A cow cannot be EX before her 3rd calf.
Is there a quota system in your region?
There is no longer a quota system in Belgium. It was dissolved a year ago. We milk and produce as much as we can. We decided to keep our herd size the same. If we decide to increase our herd the production in our case would be for cheese & ice cream.
Unique Facts about Bois Seigneur Holstein
- Our calving objective is for the cows to calve around 24 months
- Cow are released into the pasture from mid-April till October, weather permitting. After they are milked the stay in the barn to eat the rest of their TMR and then are released into the pasture till 16:30. They are then brought back into the barn to feed on their TMR till 17:00 when milking starts.
- During the night they have access to be outside or inside. They prefer to come in and eat and sleep outside. It is very important to us to see our herd in the pasture to help with their feet and legs as well it pleases our customers.