From pure Holstein to ProCROSS

Anders Kirch is the manager of a farm with Holstein cows in Denmark but in February 2019 he began to inseminate with Montbeliarde and VikingRed and thus took the first steps towards a ProCROSS herd.
"Now the first calves have started to arrive," says Anders Kirch, as he shows VikingGenetics' reporter around the farm. The calves are Holstein and Montbeliarde crosses and more full-bodied to look at than the Holstein calves visible in some of the calf huts. Anders is very much into breeding and it was not an easy decision for him to change the strategy to ProCROSS. But after thorough research, he felt confident that it could give the herd a boost on several levels.
“We have had challenges with fertility and feet & legs and I saw benefits in the ProCROSS herds I visited before making my decision. The hybrid vigour and the slightly more robust cow will be of great benefit to us,” says Anders Kirch.
 
He describes himself as a bit of a "breeding nerd" and this will not change because he is now crossing. On the contrary, he expects to spend at least as much time finding the right bulls going forward and looks to the Nordic Total Merit (NTM) index for both VikingHolstein and VikingRed.
 
He also focuses on percentages in milk, longevity and production, and additionally with VikingRed, he looks at birth and calving index since the calves get a little bigger when using Montbeliarde. This breed originates in France and therefore cannot be selected according to NTM, but to the French index, ISU.
When it comes to Montbeliarde, it is also important for Anders Kirch to choose bulls with a reasonable temperament, and they must have a production with good solids. Furthermore, they must not be over medium in size as the ProCROSS animals may then become too big for the stable conditions. Anders Kirch has chosen Montbeliarde and not, for example, the breed Fleckvieh which is slightly smaller. Montbeliarde gives more kg ECM and has a high fertility score. 
Anders Kirch looks forward to the ProCROSS herd being a reality and he expects to have robust and healthy cows with good fertility. Breeding takes time, but the first steps have now been taken on the farm in Denmark
 
Farm – Gammelbygaard in Denmark:
  • 430 cows.
  • Performance: 14,000 kg ECM.
  • Owned by Bent Lund. Anders Kirch has been the manager for 20 years.

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