Hoekstra family from 300 Holstein cows to two dairies with more than 3000 ProCROSS cows 

Kurt Hoekstra together with his brother Jack and his parents started to crossbreed their pure U.S. Holsteins and Jerseys with many different dairy breeds in Oakdale, California 19 years ago. “It was a time when no one believed this was the way to go to improve the herds”, Kurt Hoekstra tells on a sunny day of February in front of a group of international dairy farmers from England, Sweden, Portugal, Spain and Mexico to his dairy in searching for more information about ProCROSS’ achievements on the ground. 
Family business: Kurt Hoekstra with his wife Becky and their daughter Kenzie are co-owners for Crossview Dairy and Hoekstra Dairy with Kurt´s brother Jack and their father Bill. 
Facing ongoing problems on their former herd, Kurt’s parents decided in 1999 to make a 100% change on their breeding strategy in which Mike Osmundson, founder of Creative Genetics of California, was a crucial piece. 

Osmundson together with eight families - the Hoekstra family included - started to make trials with different breeds that ended in selecting the best three to form today what is known now as ProCROSS. This breeding programme combines Holstein, VikingRed and Montbeliarde. ProCROSS is the only scientifically proven crossbreeding concept in the world, since the University of Minnesota took an active role studying and comparing the results of ProCROSS cows with pure Holstein cows on the pioneer dairies. 

Hoekstra Dairy: Started in December 1971. Consists of 1300 ProCROSS cows with 175 dry cows and 1300 cows in replacement. 
Kurt’s parents, Bill and his wife Caroline started out with 300 U.S. Holstein cows in the early 70’s. In the late 90’s, they figured out that many problems were a consequence of inbreeding of the U.S. Holstein and Jerseys. “You could see they were not doing well at all”, Kurt states. The main issues were related to infertility. 
Inbreeding affects fertility, the replacement of the herd, it gives more problems with calving, more still births, cows are less vital, more labour per cow and shorter lifetime production. The Hoekstra family did not face only those problems but also high cell counts, which was an indicator of severe mastitis, with high veterinary costs as one of the consequences. 

After almost two decades of focusing on ProCROSS, this pioneering family has now reached 1300 milking cows, 200 dry cows and 1700 replacement heifers on Hoekstra Dairy which Bill and Caroline started in December of 1971. Furthermore, their dairy operation has been so pros-perous that in December 2013 they opened a second dairy farm: Crossview Dairy. The newest dairy has more than 1300 milking cows, 175 dry cows and 1300 replacements, most of them from their first dairy surpluses. 

Crossview Dairy: Started in December of 2013 with 1300 ProCROSS cows, 200 dry cows and 1700 replacement cows. 
“Our cows are healthy, we have a better volume of milk solids, longevity has improved resulting in better economic performance”, Kurt says. He recommended to his multinational guests to use ProCROSS and start the crossbreeding with a clear decision to use only the best bulls from the three breeds conforming ProCROSS. 

“For sure, the most important thing with this programme is the genetic progress you can achieve from these three breeds. Holstein, VikingRed and Montbeliarde bring the health traits, the strength and the production”, Kurt Hoekstra, Hoekstra Dairy and Crossview Dairy in partnership with his brother Jack and father Bill, Oakdale California.  

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