SANTA CRUZ, Bolivia – With a system to help to milk cows avoid “heat stress,” Argentine producers, headed by Guillermo Rocco, have begun working to increase milk production in Bolivia.
The Compost Barn technique is being implemented at the 400-milk cow Madriles dairy, located in the Bolivian town of Pailon, 51 kilometers (32 miles) from the city of Santa Cruz, EFE learned on a visit to the site for reporters organized by the Bolivian Foreign Trade Institute (IBCE).
Rocco, who has lived in Bolivia for more than 25 years, decided less than a month ago to implement the new system that is often used in tropical areas of Brazil and Argentina but to date has not been employed to stimulate Bolivian milk production.
“We think that we can certainly be the innovators of this system in Bolivia – which we’ve seen and learned about in Brazil – in a zone with similar weather conditions,” said Rocco, referring to the high temperatures in this Bolivian region.
Rocco intends to use the system to ensure that his cows do not suffer “heat stress,” which can reduce their milk production.
The idea is to house the milk-producing cows in an enclosed and clean habitat so that disease doesn’t get started among them, they don’t get too hot, get plenty of fresh circulating air and are not subject to stressful noise and activity.
The cows are fed a mixture of sorghum, corn and soybeans stored in silos nearby, Argentine Federico Barreto said.
The investment required to implement the system is at least $2,500 per cow, most of which are of the Holstein breed, which are excellent milk producers but do not tolerate tropical climates well.
The dairy produces 9,000 liters (about 2,400 gallons) of milk per day, or some 24 liters per cow and 270,000 liters per month.
The target is to increase milk production to 30 liters per day per cow.
The Madriles dairy sells 100 percent of its milk production to PIL Andina, an affiliate of Peru’s Glorida group, at a base price of about $0.30 per liter.
Barreto says that several producers in the region have expressed interest in implementing the system, but they need to train their people to be able to manage the new program properly.
Monthly per capita milk consumption in Bolivia is estimated at about 62 liters but the goal is to increase it to 122 liters.
Santa Cruz province produces 53 percent of Bolivia’s 301 million liters of milk per year.