ProCross is the best proven crossbreeding program - used by progressive dairymen in the USA, Italy, Spain, Germany, Portugal and many other places. The combination of Swedish Red and White, Montbeliarde and the Holstein has proven to be the most profitable combination by maximizing the hybrid vigor and performance of the three breeds.
The additive breed effects are important in crossbreeding as well as in all breeding. The heterosis is an extra benefit on top of the parent average. So one critical point is to always use the best bulls in the breeds. A crossbreeding program needs to be well planned and organized to produce benefits. Pro-cross is the combination of three unrelated, competitive breeds all with efficient breed improvement programs.
Why Three Breeds?
Capturing and sustaining heterosis is a key part to an efficient crossbreeding program. Once you have gotten used to the extra bonus of heterosis, you do not want it to drop below 75%. For 2-breed crisscrossing the extent of heterosis drops to 50% in the second generation - levelling off at 67%. A system of 4 breeds results in a high heterosis on average, but contribution of each individual breed is too much diluted. A 3-breed rotation is the optimum and results in average heterosis of 86% .
How to get started
- Holstein heifers: breed to Swedish Red semen
- Holstein cows: breed to Montbeliarde semen
On a pure Holstein herd, the extrem calving ease of the Swedish Red bulls gives all pure Holstein heifers an extra guarantee to calve safely. Montbeliarde semen will logically fit on all Holstein cows. Then, Montbeliarde semen has to be used on all Swedish Red/Holstein heifers and cows. Swedish Red semen has to be used on all Montbeliarde/Holstein heifers and cows. Colour tagging: It is important to strictly follow the same order for each breed in the rotation, enhancing hybrid vigour. Colour tagging (one colour per breed) allows it to be simple for breeding purposes.
With a ProCross Composite you will see
- Calving Ease
- Increased Fertility
- Maintain or Increase your Solids Production
- Cut Total Costs
- More Profit in your pocket
Producers often look into different management practices to gain a competitive advantage and improve their profit margins.
Crossbreeding takes part of innovation and many herds in the US are following the crossbreeding program with Montbeliarde and Swedish Red semen on Holstein cows.