Some mates with… Diego Pipino

07 Feb 2022

We chatted with Diego Pipino, a veterinarian and producer of organic milk at the “El Campito” establishment.

What is the history of “El Campito”?

We started in 2009 in a conventional way with a rearing of heifers, renting only the house with the hull and the pens, to go on in May 2013 to milk 18 cows and rent 15 hectares. As of 2021 we are organic and we rent the entire field, which is 92 hectares, and we milk an average of 113 cows per day. In those 92 hectares there are 250 total animals, this growth was possible thanks to the support of producers and all those who work here.

Where are they located?

We are located in Ucacha, in the central-southern area of ​​the province of Córdoba. Today Ucacha has 6,000 inhabitants and is very well prepared for the dairy area here, which allows, due to natural conditions, to employ many people in the dairy industry.

Why did you decide to produce organically?

As a veterinarian, I became interested in organic production. I didn’t want to inject hormones into the cows, I always preferred a healthier cow. In that search, we went little by little going to a much more friendly system with the environment and without using agrochemicals. An event happened to us in the field that made us click in the head. We saw that by fumigating we affected the trees in the area that were 100 years old and that’s when we realized that the path we were following was not the correct one, because no matter how hard we tried to make rational use of agrochemicals, we were affecting the environment of a very serious way by damaging the flora and we were harming ourselves as well.

How was the conversion process to organic?

At the end of 2018 we began to advise ourselves on what organic production was and by March 2019 we had contact with the Nestlé company, which was looking for organic producers. We got excited about the project and quickly reached a long-term agreement. We started with the conversion on October 3, 2019 until finally, in October 2021, we had the last audit and we are organic, which fills us with pride.

What is the importance of organic certification for you?

For us it is an achievement that fills us with satisfaction. The certification gives us the guarantee that we comply with organic regulations, which gives us the peace of mind of knowing that we are doing things as they should. In addition, the consumer is guaranteed that the product they purchased is truly organic because there is a certificate and traceability on the product.

How is the work system in “El Campito”?

Milking begins at 4 in the morning and ends at 6. For that we have a state-of-the-art milking machine. Then the cows go to the pasture where they feed. In the afternoon, milking and feeding are repeated. It is important to point out that the food for the cows is organic, since we acquire organic corn from a nearby field.

How is the milk distribution process?

After the daily milking, the milk is stored in a cold tank (at 4 degrees), which has a storage capacity of more than 6,000 liters. Then every day Nestlé comes to collect the milk and then it is taken to a dairy factory that Nestlé owns in Villa María-Villa Nueva, Córdoba.

How is the reproductive process of animals?

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 ultrasound scans every 14 days, always working with a single herd of 113 average cows.

How does one work in the organic system to heal animals?

The organic system allows the use of homeopathic and phytotherapeutic treatments for all mastitis pathologies. We see that the organic system is very resilient, because the cow, growing up in a healthy environment, does not present many diseases, we see the cows happy and they get sick very little.

What benefits does organic milk have?

The consumer can rest easy, because he is consuming a quality product, since there are a lot of studies that support that the organic system, which does not have agrochemicals, is much healthier. In this way, organic foods are qualitatively and quantitatively much better. I particularly feel great consuming organic milk.

What plans do you have for 2022?

On November 7 we bought 500 laying hens from INTA Pergamino, which will soon be certified organic. The future idea is the sale of certified organic eggs.

Now we have a drought, which has lasted for 3 years, which makes the matter very difficult for us. But I want to highlight the fundamental task of the human team that surrounds me and advises me.