At Ponte Alta Dairy Farm, Success And Animal Welfare Go Hand-In-Hand
- After eight years of manual production, Giovani Godihno decided to test mechanical milking. Little by little he learned more about the best feeding practices, cattle management, and adequate infrastructure for the cows.
- With the growth, Godinho recognizes the importance of differentiated products for the health of his herd of 770 animals, 300 of which are lactating cows. It led him to the discovery of Nutron, a Cargill Animal Nutrition brand.
- Ponte Alta has seen excellent health and reproduction results with an average overall pregnancy rate of 39.1 percent in 2020.
At Ponte Alta dairy farm, success and animal welfare go hand-in-hand
Ponte Alta Farm, located in Goiás City, Brazil, has built a successful 36-year history in milk production, with dairy serving as its only income source. Today, Ponte Alta Farm occupies a prominent position among the largest producers in both Goiás and Brazil, producing more than 10,000 liters per day. They credit this production achievement to three focus areas: respect for animals, care for employees and investment in a natural and quality animal feed.
When farmer Giovani Godihno first started the dairy farm 36 years ago, he was milking 12 cows out of a bootstrapped facility and without technical assistance. At the time, he produced 20 to 30 liters of milk per day, which then grew 150 to 200 liters per day.
After eight years of manual production, his herd multiplied, and he decided to test mechanical milking. And, little by little, Godinho learned about the best feeding practices, cattle management and proper infrastructure needed. Today, he has a comfortable barn with a controlled environment. He’s now able to control factors such as lighting and temperature to maintain the health and well-being of the herd and, consequently, increase its production efficiency.
“The cow has feelings; we need to understand her needs and respect her. We strive for maximum productivity while maintaining a focus on welfare,” Godihno said. “Currently, each of our cows produces an average of 35 liters per day—and this is achieved in the most natural condition possible. Back in 2015, each cow produced an average of 29 liters per day.”
With the productivity growth, Godinho recognized the importance of differentiated products for the health of his 770 animals, 300 of which are lactating cows. This led him to the discovery of Nutron, a Cargill Animal Nutrition brand in Brazil. Nutron's technical consultants work in partnership with the farm's veterinarian and nutritionist.
“Each cow deserves the best,” noted Godinho. “Given our farm’s advancement in genetic selection and focus on health and productivity, we found that Nutron's products valued the same principles as we do. We’ve seen excellent health and reproduction results with an average overall pregnancy rate of 39.1 percent in 2020.”
Ponte Alta Farm’s concern for well-being is comprehensive: it embraces animals, collaborators, and the environment. Godihno keeps employees aware of their role and importance to the farm and offers annual trainings so they can learn and practice respect for their animals.
“We know people are part of the gear which moves the farm—it’s all integrated work. Taking good care of the cow, treating the employee nicely and having a partnership based on trust such as ours with Nutron and Cargill—these are what make our history successful,” Godihno said.
For more stories about using nutrition to optimize performance, productivity, and well-being, visit Feeding Intelligence here.