Ola Gård is an organic dairy farm and meat producer outside Uppsala, Sweden. We meet Lasse and Sölvi Ekström and the new owner, Fredrik Murray, on a warm spring day. Lasse's family has owned Ola Gård for 90 years. He himself has run the farm for 42 years. Thirty years ago, Lasse started thinking about crossbreeding his cows, like the routine breeding strategy for pig and chicken production. The idea was confirmed at the Dairy Farm Days 2012, during a talk on ProCROSS. For Lasse and Sölvi, ProCROSS has been a mainstay of their herd since that day. They currently milk 420 cows and raise 70 steers per year. Prior to starting with ProCROSS, only milk was produced on the farm. ProCROSS, in combination with a lot of natural pasture, has made it possible to also focus on meat production. "If it wasn't ProCROSS, we wouldn't have been breeding steers," says Lasse.
Fredrik is the new owner of the farm. Lasse and Sölvi are retiring and have been looking for someone suitable to take over their farm for some time. The process was time consuming—it was important to find the right person, Lasse explained. Fredrik had been working as their accounting consultant for a few years. During the past year, he has worked closely with Lasse and Sölvi and has taken over ownership this spring of 2021. The best thing about Ola Farm according to Fredrik is that their business model is very aggressive, and the farm emphasizes cost-effective decisions and prioritizes profitability. As Lasse and Sölvi have expanded and developed their farm, economy and practicality have always been the keywords. As a consequence, their farm has earned the UC Gold Seal, which is a rating awarded to Swedish businesses at the top level for economic soundness and profitability.
Lasse and Sölvi think ProCROSS is ideal for them as organic producers. Their cows walk long distances to pasture every day—up to 2 km. The biggest change they have notice with ProCROSS is that the cows are healthier and eat all day long in the pasture. “It’s on the pasture that ProCROSS animals do their best,” according to Sölvi. The Ekström’s notice that their ProCROSS cows have a higher feed conversion efficiency both on pasture and in the barn than they did with their former purebred herd. ProCROSS has also resulted in a sharp decrease in mastitis, calving is smoother, and newborn calves are alert and strong.