Will Nixon, his father, Ian, and uncle, Dave, used to milk 350 Holsteins at Upper Farm, near Market Drayton. Originally producing 9,500 litres, a gradual decline in cow fertility and milk yield impacted cash flow.
After benchmarking with their farm consultant, Adrian Caine, from P&L Consulting, it became clear that the farm’s replacement rate was too high at 32%. “There weren’t enough fresh cows, so the temptation was to feed more to produce those marginal litres, but it wasn’t delivering enough of a margin,” explains Adrian.
A deeper dive into cow pedigrees revealed that inbreeding was an issue at 7%. “If we kept loading the model we had, we were going to run faster and get nowhere,” he adds.
Having invested in new facilities, the Nixons knew something had to change to ensure they could match their business plan’s cash flow projections. They needed to maintain good milk production levels to pay back the capital they had invested in new infrastructure.
After visiting dairy farms in America milking ProCROSS cows, they decided to buy 80 ProCROSS heifers from Denmark in 2016.
These calved alongside 80 Holstein replacements in the autumn, and the results at the end of their first lactation gave the Nixons the confidence to make the transition the following year.