An organic dairy is consolidated in Ucacha
12 Nov 2021
Within the framework of the 49th anniversary of the Inta Ucacha agency, Aquiles Salinas, director of the experimental Manfredi del Inta agency, was invited to tour the establishment, owned by producer and veterinarian Diego Pipino. The dairy was certified organic and is one of three in Córdoba.
In a dialogue with TodoAgro, engineer Aquiles Salinas, director of INTA’s Manfredi experimental station, indicated: “With all the agencies we held a face-to-face meeting after a long time to celebrate the 49th anniversary of the Ucacha Agency and as part of the program we visited the organic dairy of Diego Pipino that was certified a few days ago. For me it was a novelty and a paradigm shift, in that many things can be done organically; and there are a lot of business benefits depending on the products.”
Pipino showed the INTA technicians the numbers of his establishment from the beginning, showing the genetic strategy with the crossing of races, the pastoral system and self-consumption plus the pastoral system in the rearing of laying hens.
“Undoubtedly, it is an interesting system, based on the very important reduction of costs and the contribution of capital; which implies a decrease in production, but which is compensated by a better marketing price”, emphasized Salinas.
He added that another axis that was highlighted was the importance of work teams in the implementation of these process technologies. “We took the opportunity to sign an agreement with this producer that makes it possible to provide feedback on capacities, that is, it was a fruitful and interesting day.”
The Pipino formula
Diego Pipino’s establishment is called “El Campito”, it is 4 kilometers from Ucacha. “We started in 2009 with a rearing of heifers, renting only the house with the hull and the pens, to move on in May 2013 to milk 18 cows and rent 15 hectares. Currently in 2021 we already rent the entire field, which is 92 hectares, and we have an average of 113 cows milked per day. We are milking 133 cows today. In those 92 hectares there are 250 total animals,” said Pipino.
The El Campito dairy farm already has organic certification and Pipino proudly related it: “On Thursday of last week (for Thursday, September 23) we had the last audit and we are already organic. It is the audit that comes every year and has followed up on us since we started, in October 2019. We are currently carrying out a PRV (Rational Voisin Grazing), a pastoral and rotating system because all the pastures are not yet implanted. We are finishing eating a self-consumption silo of sorghum, and with this organic it is complicated to make corn due to cross-pollination. All corn consumption is certified organic and balanced as well. The rearing is done on pastures and we began to make treatments from this organic system, to treat with homeopathic and phytotherapeutic treatments everything that is mastitis, pulmonary, diarrhea pathologies, and although we have not stopped using conventional treatments, we treat to use very little”.
He highlighted the fundamental task of the human team that surrounds and advises him: “We are working with the engineers Novisardi and Clavero in the organic part, the boys who work in the dairy part are Agustín Sánchez, Hernán Vega and Javier Arguello, my whole family, Lorena is the homeopath, the veterinarian is Carlos Pagliero, Oscar Bustos and Emiliano Tamagnini are in charge of accounting and projection, and Vanesa Aguirre and Alberto Guendulain give us a big hand from the INTA agency.
Looking ahead, the veterinarian said that “in the year 2022 there will be 92 hectares implanted with polyphytic pastures, only 30 hectares are missing. We have already started with the PRV, we have the pipes and the structure to be able to distribute it throughout the establishment so that the water is in the lot and the cow does not go to the water but the water goes to the cow, and the pickets are 63 by 63 meters”.
Another different feature of the Pipino system is that it uses many crosses to seek hybridity and health: “The breeds we are using are Holstein, which was what we bought when we were rearing heifers, which is inseminated with the Swedish Red breed, and everything that is inseminated with Swedish Red is inseminated with New Zealand Jersey and that triple cross is inseminated again with Holstein and New Zealand”, he said when pointing out the genetic roadmap.
In the dialogue with TodoAgro, he provided some reproductive data: “we inseminate from May 1 to October 31. From November 1 to December 31, a bull is released to the rodeo, and from January 1 to April 30 there are no services. Hormones are not used because the organic system does not allow it. Although it can be inseminated, embryo transfer or sexed semen cannot be done, so we use heat detection with paint and nothing else, and we are doing ultrasounds every 14 days, always working with a single herd of 113 average cows in 2021 ”
He added that “we have all the data with the DairyCom, the average service rate for 2020 was 52% and the one we currently have is 59%, data that arises from artificial insemination, since they are not analyzing the bulls. The pregnancy rate in 2020 was 34% and we are currently at a 30% pregnancy rate, although inseminations have not finished yet. The conception rate in 2020 was 67% and in 2021, which we did not close yet, it was 54%”
Other outstanding indicators of “El campito” are those related to the impact of mastitis: “With this homeopathic treatment, this year we are between 180 and 200 thousand somatic cells. Last year we were at 400 thousand. Antibiotics are not used in drying therapy, neither in 2020 when we dry all the cows, nor in 2019. Specific homeopathic treatments are used for any cow that comes with a history of high somatic cells or mastitis treatment”.
A vertiginous growth
Describing the trajectory of productivity and growth, Diego Pipino said: “We started in 2013 inseminating with an average of 27 cows/day, to spend in 2017 with 94 cows and in 2021 with 113 milking cows. The current average liters per day is 2,361 liters. Today we are almost at an average of 3,000 liters per day. This year it was an average of 21 liters per cow. We do not measure liters but profitability and useful solids. We are on average 3.89 fat and 3.53 protein, and this is low for the racial component that we have, but the problem we have with organic balance is that it has a component that provides energy, which is corn with a lot of zootechnical flour and the fat that this flour has is waterproofing the ruminal fiber and is causing us inconveniences. The idea would be to get out of a commercial balance to pass to the protein contribution offered by pasture and fiber, “said the professional.
The current useful solids are 4,380 kilos per month and the final goal would be to reach 120 milking cows with 6,000 kilos of useful solids per month, which would mean about 2,500 liters on average per day. Pipino sells this production to the Nestlé company, which pays him a significant premium compared to the market value of conventional milk.
Mobile chicken coops: A plus on the farm
During the tour, a trailer that works as a mobile chicken coop could be seen, where dozens of chickens graze in its surroundings. “As of March of this year we started with a system of these mobile chicken coops, with a network where the hens graze. Half of the feed comes from grazing alfalfa, oats or some greenery and everything that is bugs, and the other half comes from corn mixed with organic balance. We bought 300 hens and now there must be 200 left. On November 7 we have bought 500 layers from INTA Pergamino, which will already be certified organic. The idea is to sell certified organic eggs,” said Pipino, referring to a product that is in high demand (highly sought after by confectioners and pastry chefs), due to its origin, a larger size than industrial eggs, and its yellow yolk.