Leveraging Crossbreeding Dairy, New Heights Dairy LLC

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A partnership between Brent Czech, his wife Callie and Brent’s parents, Myron and Debbie Czech, New Heights Dairy LLC began in 2006 out of Rice, MN. As Brent was graduating from the University of Minnesota, a neighboring dairy became available. Recognizing there was no room to expand at his parent’s home farm, the family jumped at the opportunity to grow.

Over the past 18 years, the farm has grown from milking 850 head at one location to more than 6,000 animals across multiple locations, farming approximately 6,000 acres. The collective herd has an average production of 78 pounds of milk per cow with  5.0% fat and 3.7% protein test.

New Heights Dairy utilizes DairyComp 305 for the herd’s records and recently installed CowManager® to help manage reproduction. In the short time CowManager has been on farm, Brent has seen his 34% pregnancy rate trend upward and is hopeful to experience efficiencies from CowManager.

The Czechs started out with Holsteins, but as the operation grew and expanded to multiple sites, Brent wanted to breed cows that require less maintenance and intervention but could still meet or exceed his production goals. Thus, he began a crossbreeding regimen. “I had used a three-breed rotation for a long time, using Holstein, Jersey, and Montbeliarde, in that order, and it was successful. But as time went on, I saw many improvements in the Holstein breed,” says Brent. “I wanted to retool my program to capitalize on those improvements. Five years ago, I implemented a program where I rotated Holstein x Jersey x Holstein x Montbeliarde x Holstein. This allowed us to benefit more from the Holstein genetics while still capturing some heterosis.”

The farm utilizes an in-house index, placing emphasis on longevity, health traits and component production. “The crossbred cow is designed for longevity and health, and we want to make an animal that’s going to last while producing a lot of fat and protein,” notes Brent. “Crossbreeding really aligns with those goals.”

As far as what’s on the horizon for New Heights Dairy, Brent is keeping things basic. “We are always trying to get better at what we do; making the right decisions at the right time based on what’s best for us.”

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