Karen and Jonathan Martin at Longford Farm in Market Drayton used crossbreeding to turn around their Shropshire farm after TB devastated their herd. They made the right decision, and ProCROSS transformed their dairy business.

Tuberculosis struck a big blow to Longford Farm eight years ago, when Karen and Jonathan lost 80 cows. They bought 31 in-calf crossbred heifers in 2012, and they revolutionized the whole system.

The Martin family are now milking 370 cows using the ProCROSS system. “The fertility costs are less, we have fewer fertility interventions, we’ve got better yields. It’s just a win-win situation.” Karen says.

Another reason that influenced the couple’s decision to switch to ProCROSS was the high quality in the production of solids, and since they have a cheese contract which pays them on constituents, this advantage attracted them from the beginning, because the higher the butterfat, the more they get paid for the milk.

Karen admits they had doubts initially because they were the first farmers in the area to make the switch. “It is a big decision to make with the outlay. Farmers are notorious for questioning new things,” she says. But once they’d started cross breeding, they realized it was the way forward.

“We were so impressed with the three way cross, it was just the next step up the ladder to do the Montbeliarde and VikingRed cross," Karen says.

Healthier and more easy-to-manage cows

The couple have found the ProCROSS cows are easier to manage as they have better health and fertility than the pure Holsteins they were used to. The strength and vigour of the calves is also an important factor.

Karen and Jonathan noticed the benefits of their new strategy immediately. They started to see the results straight away through the milk price.

“Financially it’s great, the cows are happy, they’re great to work with and their temperaments are amazing. We’ve got the good bull calf price; we’ve got longevity and the fabulous barren prices - over £1,000”, Jonathan says.

The benefits of crossbreeding, including more profit, longevity and smaller vet bills, are too good to give up, they conclude.

“We definitely wouldn’t go back to pure breeding, because what we’re doing is pulling all the good traits from all these breeds and putting them together. That’s the strength of what we’re doing,” Karen states.

Read the full story here.

Watch the video and hear from UK farmers talking about their experiences with ProCROSS.

33% higher lifetime profit

ProCROSS is the combination of three unrelated, high-producing and very competitive breeds – VikingRed, Coopex Montbéliarde and VikingHolstein. The three breeds combine and compensate for each other's strong and weak points.

A 10-year study by the University of Minnesota (results published in the Journal of Dairy Science) in the United States, showed that ProCROSS produces lifetime profits, which are on average 33% higher compared to pure Holstein.

Read more about ProCROSS

*This article contains sponsored content and does not necessarily represent the views of The Scottish Farmer.​​