The couple´s journey towards ProCROSS started with a technological wink when Karen taught her husband, Tom how to use an iPad. Back then, he could see how the three-way cross system, ProCROSS worked in the United States and this online window changed their lives.
“Watching that one video of farmers telling their experiences and seeing these herds of cows that were all the same size was just fantastic. I thought this is for me.” Tom, says. “He found ProCROSS on the internet, and kept shouting ‘come and look at this, come and watch this video, oh my God this is amazing it’s in America. This is what I want to do.’ He sold it to me straight away”, Karen adds.
Tom’s family have been farming on the Rode Hall Estate in Astbury near Congleton, Cheshire, since 1968, milking 200 cows across three sites. In 2012 Tom and Karen set up Halton farms LTD on the same site in Astbury, near Congleton in Cheshire. They brought all the herd onto one site in a new cow shed and built a new rapid exit milk parlour.
Before they tried crossbreeding, they were producing 7,000 litres, but were experiencing a lot of health problems. “I felt we were looking after the cow rather than the cow looking after us”, he complains.
“I felt we’d gone too far down the Holstein route. We’d got these cows and they were trying to produce more milk from forage and grass, and it wasn’t the right animal for us”.
Karen also noticed the cows were not as healthy as they wished they were. They had skinny legs which with her background in horses made her skeptical about the breed.
As many farmers, Tom had used pure Holsteins more as a tradition. His father had done but Tom changed direction driven by the need to have a stronger cow.