What is ProCROSS? 

ProCROSS is a crossbreeding concept using Holstein, VikingRed and Montbeliarde breeds. ProCROSS is a breeding method managed by Coopex Montbéliarde and VikingGenetics. It’s the only scientifically proven crossbreeding program in the world.

It’s used by progressive dairy farmers in the USA, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Portugal and many other countries. By now the combination of the three breeds has proven to be the most profitable cross. The breeds combine and compensate very well their strong and weak points. On top of that the most efficient heterosis is achieved.
Inbreeding issues? Crossbreeding is the answer 

When parents are closely related, inbreeding occurs. Inbreeding is a growing issue in some pure breeding herds. Inbreeding results in animals that have more health and reproduction problems - and therefore lifetime production will decrease, and the profitability of the business decreases. Cows can only perform if they are supported with costly management tools. Inbreeding can be maximum 4% if problems are to be avoided. Only crossbreeding can solve inbreeding issues. ProCROSS crossbreeding brings great results fighting against problems caused by inbreeding. Most common inbreeding problems are: cows’ performance does not match their stated breeding levels, low fertility, problematic calving, more stillborn cases, decreasing lifetime production and lower vitality among the herd.
What are the ProCROSS breeds? 

The ProCROSS crossbreeding program uses three breeds: Holstein, VikingRed and Montbeliarde. VikingRed is a Scandinavian breed combining of the Finnish, Swedish and Danish red breeds, and Montbeliarde is a dairy breed from the mountain areas in France. ProCROSS is recommending the use of VikingHolstein as the Holstein breed to ensure balanced breeding values for the Holstein used in the crossbreeding.
Why then we need the three breeds? The answer is heterosis - Hybrid Vigor.

Capturing and sustaining heterosis is a key part to an efficient crossbreeding program. Once you experience the extra bonus of heterosis, you do not want to go lower than 75%. Only using two breeds the heterosis will drop to 50% in the second generation – levelling at 67%, in future generations. A system of four breeds results in an even higher heterosis levelling at 93%. But it is very hard to find four competitive, unrelated breeds with sufficient milk production. 
ProCROSS is a three-breed rotation system, that generates optimum health and production results, with an average heterosis of 86%.

The lower the relation between breeds, the higher the heterosis you get. The effects of heterosis are the opposite of inbreeding depression. Research indicates that heterosis really improves traits like vitality, fertility, health and survival allowing also higher production than parent average.
ProCROSS is scientifically proven to increase lifetime profit

To measure lifetime profit you need a scientific setup. All data must be recorded over a long period. Professor Les Hansen and his team at Minnesota University did a large field trial that is known as the Californian and Minnesota trials. Results showed that Montbeliarde x Holstein cows have 50% and VikingRed x Holstein cows have 44% higher lifetime profit per cow than pure Holstein cows.

To define lifetime profit, the range of different possible revenues and expenses were included such as production of milk, fat and protein as well as somatic cell count, reproduction, feed intake, calf value, salvage value, dead cow disposal, fixed costs and interest costs. The researchers say that calculated lifetime profit for crossbreds might be even higher than estimated, because all the data on health costs were not provided by the herd owners in California.

ProCROSS cows have seven major strengths in relation to pure breeds: fertility, cell count, productive lifetime, veterinarian costs, production level, lower labour costs and feed efficiency. ProCROSS is a long-term solution for improving the performance of a dairy herd. Important part of the success with ProCROSS crossbreeding is to make a clear plan and stick to the plan, and use the breed rotation accurately as well as using the best bulls within each breed.

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