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Higher profit margins with ProCROSS cows

Milk Unlimited Dairy Farms in Iowa, USA has 3,100 cows, 60% of the herd are ProCROSS today.

Kelly and Christy Cunningham are satisfied with the milestone achieved in their herd after their decision to use ProCROSS three years ago. Milk Unlimited Dairy Farms in Iowa, USA has 3,100 cows, 60% of the herd are ProCROSS today.

In 2018 the family lost the fluid milk market.  Kelly and Christy began looking for a cow that would have moderate size but produce high components. Their search led them to the ProCROSS program. They immediately began breeding heifers and cows to Montbeliarde, however, the length of time to convert the herd from pure Holstein to a 3-breed ProCROSS was overwhelming.

They contacted Mike Osmundson at Creative Genetics about purchasing ProCROSS cattle to get a jump-start.  The family was able to purchase cattle from 3 long-time ProCROSS herds and began to freshen their first ProCROSS cattle in August, 2018.


Better health and fertility

They keep very detailed records on their ProCROSS and Holstein cows.  Fresh-cow health events (ketosis, metritis, DA, milk fever, retained placenta) are half of what they experience with Holsteins.  Mastitis and pneumonia are more than 50% less than Holsteins.  Across all traits, their ProCROSS have –$.28/cow/day lower health cost than the Holsteins. 

Reproduction has also been outstanding.  ProCROSS cattle are open 22 days less and have pregnancy rates 4-5 points higher than Holsteins. 

Milk Unlimited ProCROSS

Reduced expenses, a key advantage

Kelly and Christy group the ProCROSS cows separately from the Holsteins, and this allows them to compare their feed intake.  “Our dry matter intake is 4 to 10% less for the ProCROSS cows.  The milk components are higher (+0.3% fat and +0.2% protein) while milk volume and ECM are running a few pounds less than Holsteins.”

Herd turnover rate is substantially less for ProCROSS than Holstein, even as they are focusing on building numbers of cows. 

“We are very pleased with the ProCROSS cattle.  We have realized better components, better health, better reproduction, and lower herd turnover rate.  Our oldest groups of ProCROSS are now in fourth lactations.  As our ProCROSS herd matures, milk volume and ECM are improving compared to Holsteins.”

Their profit margin of the ProCROSS cows is +$.64/cow/day higher than Holsteins, and results from the substantially lower cost of production for ProCROSS milk.


Herd facts:

  • Owners: Kelly and Christy Cunningham
  • 3,100 cows (60% ProCROSS currently)
  • Production: 84 lbs/day (38kg/day), 4.09% fat, 3.14% protein
  • Dry Matter Intake: 54.6 lbs/day. 4 to 10% less DMI for ProCROSS
  • Cull rate: 39.6% for Holsteins; 19.5% for ProCROSS
  • Fertility: 119 days open for Holsteins, 97 days open for ProCROSS
  • ProCROSS since 2018, starting with purchased ProCROSS cows
  • System: conventional, freestall
Milk Unlimited ProCROSS

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