Az. Agricola Colombarone: ‘Animal welfare is an asset on the farm’.
The ‘Colombarone’ farm, located near the municipality of Besenzone, in the heart of the Italian dairy industry, raises about 200 head of cattle, 100 of which are lactating and 90 for rearing. The herd is managed by Marco Bruschi with the support of his brother Andrea and together they run the farm in all phases of production, from the cultivation of the land that guarantees the supply for the herd, to the production of milk with maniacal attention to the nutrition and animal welfare of their cows. Since their families have expanded, they have entrusted the milking process to a partner.
When the stable is your passion and you end up making a job of it: the story of the Bruschi brothers
Do you know the quote ‘Make your work a passion and you will never work a day in your life’? Marco is so passionate about his work that it is hard not to get involved and fascinated by the history of his company.
When his father retired from the business in 1997, Marco, who was finishing his agricultural studies at the time, took over from him. He started with 50 head of cattle and the construction of a cowshed from scratch. After two and a half years, the number of animals has increased so much that he is now building a barn for his heifers.
In the small stable run by his father, all operations, from feeding to milking, were manual and inefficient.
Marco gave the farm great innovative impulses with spatial housing, unifeed wagon and automatic systems for cleaning manure. With the systems introduced, 16 cows are milked at the same time in a separate milking parlour, and there are ventilation and lighting systems to ensure the welfare of the herd.
His brother Andrea, who had initially embarked on a different career path, gladly got involved with Marco, leaving his job as a technician to return to the farm. He now works in breeding and for a company specialising in genetics.
The two brothers always keep up to date and even before they met AHV they were already practising selective drying; they regularly check their cattle with the aim of avoiding or limiting all those situations that lead to lower cow yields, depreciation or discarded milk.
The first meeting with AHV: the udder health programme
Innovators by nature, but also pragmatists, they started using the udder protocol (AHV Quick Tablet, AHV Extra Tablet, AHV Aspi Liquid) on a few cows that had been given attention, but which did not show a bacterial load at laboratory checks.
Following the administration of AHV products, as early as the second or third functional check, when a noticeable improvement of milk quality is revealed, they are convinced that they are on the right track.
“During lactation, the udder is particularly delicate and for total support we use AHV QS Spray, sprayed directly on the skin, and AHV Udder Health Cream,” a gel useful for massaging and softening the udder.
The best performing farm in the province by milk production
The two brothers make animal health an asset of their farm: keeping the cows under control allows them to keep all cows in the barn and avoid culling.
They are very proud of the results they achieve in this respect, especially when they present their cows at fairs. In 2021, they were the first farm in the province of Piacenza in terms of milk production for the second year in a row with about 140 quintals per head per year .
What satisfies them most, beyond the recognition they receive, is being able to maintain a high and constant level of milk quality over time.
A new heifer routine with AHV Booster
The heifer routine has also undergone a change with the introduction of AHV Booster Powder.
“When they reach 4.5 litres of milk per day we add AHV Booster in one meal to support them metabolically. Since we started this practice, the calves have a shinier coat and are more active. We have also noticed that they are able to maintain their intestinal health over time.”
The very high standards of hygiene that Marco and Andrea maintain in their stable are impressive, among other things they use AHV Prolife-S to clean the calf boxes.
…intrigued by the ‘drench’ technique
Considering the functionality and practicality of the AHV Drench Pump and the results obtained on the heifers with the other formulations of the AHV Booster line, they also started using it on two particularly productive multiparous cows: the cows started lactation very well and had no challenges in post-partum.
“We had been hearing about drench for a while and were curious to try this technique, but had not yet found a product that we felt was reliable and an easy-to-use administration tool,” says Marco.
If you take a proactive approach to foot health, you see results
The company is particularly pleased with the results achieved on claw health with the AHV Quick Tablet.
“It is important to start using tablets as soon as the first signs appear, without waiting for the cow to start limping. I, for example, when observing the animals, notice this because the cow is holding her foot slightly elevated, and I know that she is starting to feel a slight discomfort when standing. After administering AHV Quick, we complete the administration with AHV Aspi.
Since we’ve been doing this, we haven’t had to use other, more traditional methods and discard the milk, and our work has also become lighter, as we no longer have to deal with follow-up administrations.”
What does it mean to be innovative in this sector?
“Many people make the equation innovation equals technology. For us, being innovative means above all becoming efficient in all operational processes on the farm (calves, genetics, feeding).
You have to learn to rely on external professionals who can help you read the data of your farm and understand where you can improve and where you can be more efficient.
More efficient farm management means a healthier, more productive and more profitable farm,’ Marco tells us.
The Azienda Agricola Colombarone di Bruschi has found AHV to be in line with the managerial and innovative spirit of the two owners and we hope that the collaboration will continue in the future.
Here is the company’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Alabama-Holstein-2242304639146549
Products mentioned by Az. Agricola Colombarone
AHV Quick Tablet
AHV Extra Tablet
AHV Aspi Liquid
AHV Booster Tablet
AHV Booster Powder
AHV QS Spray
AHV Udder Health Cream
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Would you like to be visited by an advisor to discuss the health challenges on your farm together? Our AHV Specialist will be happy to visit you to jointly assess the health of your cows and come up with appropriate cow-specific advice.
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