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Alta Spotlight: Väätsa Agro

Each day on a dairy farm brings a new challenge. Väätsa Agro chooses to face those challenges head on. Focusing on people and reproductive management, this 2300-cow dairy is truly an example of how to rebuild a dairy from scratch.

Väätsa Agro is one of the dairies of Trigon Dairy Group. This Estonian-based company, founded in 2006, is comprised of three dairy farms. With a total herd of 7,000 dairy animals, of which 3,550 are milking cows, it is the biggest dairy operation of the Baltics.

Number of Cows: 2300
Milking Parlor: 80-stall carousel
Milk Production: 11 000 kg
Acres: 4000 ha
Pregnancy Rate: 28%
Number of Employees: 90
Customized genetic plan: 50 Production | 50 Health | 0 Conformation

Many dairy farmers remember the struggles of 2009 and the vulnerability of the milk market afterwards. In 2012, this particular farm was purchased out of bankruptcy. With production at 7500 kg and 1,800 cows in several buildings, the new owners knew changes needed to happen. Those changes began in 2014, when they built a new 80-cow carousel. Now, 2,300 cows average 11,000 kg on 3x a day milking. They maintain a current somatic cell count between 100,000 – 140,000, and cows average 2.2 lactations.

In 2013, Väätsa Agro began their partnership with Alta Genetics. Together, we created a genetic plan, evaluated the current situation and set goals for the future. Trigon CEO, Margus Muld, who was recognized as Estonia’s 2017 Farmer of the Year, and also pictured above, follows up by saying, “Constant monitoring enables us to stay motivated and move towards the right direction.

The right direction for this dairy, is a genetic plan of 50% weight on production, 50% weight on health traits, and no weight on type traits. This specific index was chosen to increase the herd’s production and strengthen health traits for longer lasting cows.

The dairy focuses a lot of their attention on reproduction. They follow a 14-11 day pre-synch / ov-synch program. They cherry pick any cows in heat to breed off the prostaglandin shots if they are ready after their 46-day voluntary wait period.

Eleven days after the second PG2F injection, the following ov-synch protocol is in place:

  • DIM 71 GNRH (gonadorelin)
  • DIM 78 PG2f (dinoprost)
  • DIM 79 PG2f (dinoprost)
  • DIM 81 GNRH (gonadorelin) + insemination.

Thirty days post-insemination, animals are ultrasound checked for a pregnancy. Throughout the breeding process, animals wear a DeLaval activity meter to track their heats, health, and habits. Additionally, employees are trained to visually detect heats in animals.

Currently, the farm has two 1,000-cow barns plus a calving barn, with 10-20% overcrowding. They separate manure and use the recycled compost to bed the stalls. The farm employs 50 people including veterinarians, assistants, milkers and A.I. technicians.

In the future, Väätsa Agro plans to increase their herd size to 3,300 cows. They focus all efforts on further upscaling to increase cost-efficiency

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Alta hosts first Canadian Dairy Manager School

We welcomed 22 progressive Canadian dairy producers from five provinces to the first ever Canadian Dairy Manager School, held January 16-18 in Abbotsford, BC.

Participants from Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario enhanced their knowledge on reproductive programs and implementation during the 2.5-day school. They joined Dr. Glaucio Lopes, AltaU Manager, Kevin Muxlow VP of Sales-Americas, and Dr. Paul Fricke, UW-Madison Department of Dairy Science to learn more about what’s new, what’s been improved, and what they can do best to take their farm’s reproductive management to the next level.

The class gained insight during sessions on reproductive fertility programs, data analysis, incorporating electronic activity monitors to manage health and repro, and marginal milk profitability.

An interactive visit to a large-scale robotic farm added to the already high-level discussions that attendees enjoyed inside the classroom.

See how you can take advantage of the Alta Dairy Manager School opportunities HERE.

Article submitted by Dr. Glaucio Lopes, AltaU Manager

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New additions join team of top daughter-proven sires

A new class of daughter-proven graduates joins Alta’s high-reliability TPI ranks behind #1 Pine-Tree AltaOAK and #2 No-Fla AltaEVERGLADE.

The new daughter-proven graduates are headlined by De-Su AltaGILCREST. With over 200 daughters in his production proof, he made gains for production, health, calving and conformation traits to improve his TPI more than 150 points to his current 2460 TPI.

Learn more here about AltaGILCREST and the other new additions to the daughter-proven ranks.

011HO11272 De-Su AltaGILCREST | AltaGREATEST x Goldwyn x O Man | 511 | A2A2 | 2460 TPI

  • Follows in his sire’s footsteps with lots of milk, fat and protein
  • Extremely low calving ease
  • Excellent dairyness and udders with great quality and strong attachments

011HO11348 Bush-Bros AltaBGOOD | Robust x Massey x Boliver | 511 | CP | 2432 TPI

  • Early daughters are moderate sized with tremendous udder attachments
  • High combined fat and protein and percentages
  • A former FutureStar and current high fertility ConceptPlus sire

011HO11293 Alta ECHELON | Robust x Goldwyn x Roy | CP | A2A2 | 2338 TPI

  • A balanced proof for production, health and type
  • Consistently stylish with wide rumps and very high, wide rear udders
  • Excellent sire fertility complemented by easy calvings from well-balanced cows

011HO11302 Spruce-Haven AltaALPHA | Shamrock x Deann x Outside | A2A2 | 2338 TPI

  • A health and calving trait specialist perfect for progressive environments
  • Excellent longevity and highly fertile daughters
  • Well-balanced cows with very strong udder attachments

011HO11314 Bomaz AltaENTRUST | Robust x Man-O-Man x Shottle | CP | A2A2 | 2330 TPI

  • Phenomenal components and percentages lending way to great feed efficiency
  • Long-living, fertile, healthy cows with balanced frames
  • Extremely high sire fertility

011HO11294 Champion AltaBOOKEL | Bookem x Man-O-Man x Shottle | CP | 2320 TPI

  • A production and type trait specialist
  • Early daughters are medium-sized with excellent dairy quality and openness of rib
  • Great production with over 100 CFP

011HO11316 Bomaz AltaBETTMAN | Robust x Man-O-Man x Lancelot | CP | A2A2 | 2317 TPI

  • High daughter fertility and low calving ease
  • An exciting high fertility ConceptPlus sire
  • Shorter stature with a balanced mix of dairy strength and productive udders

Also joining this group of new daughter-proven sires are three high fertility ConceptPlus options to fit a variety of genetic plans: AltaMACBOOK, AltaPRESET, and AltaTOPROCK.

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