A recognized and appreciated system
TriCross Dairy was cofounded by Californian brothers-in-law Tom Koolhaas and Wes Bylsma. Their dairy facilities, which were completed in November 2017, include a 1,100 by 600-foot cross ventilated free stall barn and a 100-cow rotary parlour. TriCross Dairy is home to 5,000 head of dairy cows.
Their ProCROSS crossbreeding system begun with VikingRed bulls on Holstein cows. The resulting heifers were bred with Montbéliarde bulls. The newborn heifers were inseminated with Holstein bull and the rotation of the three breeds started again with VikingRed. “My father-in-law, Willie Bylsma, has used ProCROSS for 20 years, so we already knew the system". Willie Bylsma already presented his dairy few years ago (read the article here : http://www.procross.info/Bylsma-dairys-oakdale-california-usa).
Koolhaas says and continues: “When we decided to build our new dairy in South Dakota, there was no doubt that we would have ProCROSS cows”.
Fertility and additional revenue
First, according to Koolhaas: “The somatic cell count has never reached 100,000, we think that it’s mostly due to the sand bedding, but we also attribute it to the superior health of the ProCROSS cattle”. Moreover, fertility is also very good. The TriCross Dairy conception rate is about 46% and pregnancy rate 28%. The herd is currently at 188 days in milk with an average of 108 days open.
What’s more, the crossbred bull calves born at TriCross Dairy also achieve higher prices. “Our calves grow faster than Holsteins and their carcasses get a higher price,” Koolhaas says.
For the two brothers-in-law, the genetic selection of each breed is important: “We always use the top VikingRed & Montbéliarde Coopex bulls,” say the dairymen.
Longevity is also a strong argument when it comes to the profitability of the dairy operation. “Our ProCROSS stay 3 to 5 lactations, compared to an average of 2 lactations for our Holsteins,” added Koolhaas.
35,8 kg of milk/cow (79 pounds of milk/cow)
4.2% butterfat / 3.3% protein
Somatic Cell Count: 90.000
5000 cows. 65% ProCROSS cows, 35% Holstein cows
Crossed between: VikingRed VikingGenetics, Montbéliarde Coopex & Holstein
100-cow rotary milking parlor
Tom Koolhaas and Wes Bylsma