As a third-generation farmer, Martin Mühlinghaus operates his family business, Ingelsbrucher Hof in Velbert, near Wuppertal in North Rhine Westphalia, Germany. On 1 June 2019 he became the official successor to his parents, running a farm that lies idyllically on a hill. Currently his dairy herd comprises 120 cows; their progeny brings the total to around 250 animals.
Martin himself, his mother, his now retired father and a temporary worker between them take care of the daily work. In 2014, the family commenced the construction of a modern cow barn in which two GEA robots replaced the former milking parlour; they have since simplified day-to-day operations.
The cows are outside all year, enjoying access in summer to extensive meadows. The barn incorporates stalls with a straw mixture and numerous cow brushes at intervals, ensuring the animals' comfort. The herd's current production output is 9,500 kg milk, with 4.20 % fat and 3.45 % protein.
“Gradually, I began to notice how much stronger were the cross-bred animals. After calving they got back up and were healthy. The Holsteins on the other hand took much longer and were more susceptible to diseases”, he says.
Having made this discovery, Martin began to delve more intensively into the topic of cross-breeding. He gathered information and in the autumn of 2018 adopted the ProCROSS system, deciding first of all on the VikingRed as an addition. There are now around 38 ProCROSS animals in his herd, both from F1 And F2 generations. This year, around 50 % of the cows were inseminated with Montbeliarde and the remaining 50 % with VikingRed.
“At first my father didn’t understand why I was at pains to restructure a herd that had been doing so well. For six years, we were the leading farm of our district in herd performance. But I knew that this change would be good for us in the long term: it would mean less work and an improvement in performance,” Martin stresses. “In the meantime, my father has accepted my decision. As a retiree, he has taken a back seat away from all the administrative matters”, he adds.