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Quality over quantity

“We work according to the principle of quality over quantity; that makes our animals healthier and more efficient.”

“We work according to the principle of quality over quantity”

Berthold Magritz explains that his fitted and healthy animals produce all by themselves. He and his family run a dairy farm with 65 cows in Lower Saxony, northwest Germany and have been using crossbreeding for 12 years.

Berthold Magritz has been part of the ProCROSS family since the beginning of 2020 and uses well-known bulls from VikingGenetics breeding programs. His dairy establishment recently merged with the one owned by his son-in-law Hendrik Teunis, on a farm close by.

The plan is for the new farm to also be gradually converted from pure Holstein to a crossbreed herd. The two run the business together, with rearing taking place on the son-in-law's farm.

A robot is milking at Berthold's farm, which is why its animals are subject to corresponding requirements:

“Of course, good udders are very important for our cows. We also pay close attention to low cell counts, good feet and legs and high Fat and Protein values. They must be durable on top of that”, Magritz explains.

The bull selection is based on these criteria, and during our visit we get to see the first young animals and hear well-known bull names such as VR Vimo, VR Fanof P, VR Tokyo, Elastar and Landos in our conversation.

The two men smile at the sight of their animals and Berthold states: “Don't they look great? In the past I only had Holstein, but today black and white for me is synonymous with black and white TV. I love the color in my barn”, he jokes.

“They are also very calm animals”, he adds. They are also very happy about their calves: “The crossbred calves jump up right after they are born and are fit and agile”, he says.

ProCROSS calf

High production with remarkable health

In terms of health, crossbreeding has only brought the company forward. Berthold said that since June 2020 they have only had one case of udder infection among the crossbreeds.

"Our animals only need to be fit and healthy - they then produce all by themselves", he says.

And how they produce! The farmers lead us to the calving area and proudly present two of the top animals. One of them is a 100,000-liter cow while the second is about to begin.

In the meantime, we have found out that she has calved and that she also cracked the 100,000 mark. “It is important to us that our animals milk in the herd for a long time. We have a couple of 'old girls’ here who are still producing well”, he says.

There are some animals in their 10th and 11th lactation in his herd. Berthold Magritz tells us that he used to think differently about it, but since he has started with crossbreeding, he has become aware of what a higher life performance can mean.

 

Profitability in focus

The farm has been using the ProCROSS program since February 2020, after having spent the previous years crossing other breeds. “Many people are afraid to take the step towards ProCROSS because they fear a drop in performance and thus losses for the company. But there is no drop in performance - on the contrary”, reports Berthold.

“We work according to the principle of quality over quantity, and that makes our animals healthier and more efficient.

“We prefer to focus on solids than on the amount of milk, because solids generate the profit”, he explains.

With an output of between 10,000 and 11,000 kg/milk, he finds only one answer to the question about what he wishes for the future: “It is actually perfect the way it is. If things continue as they are now, I will be happy.”

Hendrik also agrees and adds: “Our (still) pure Holstein herd is slowly being converted, not completely, but you can see that with our crossbred animals it works.”

 

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ProCROSS cow