Spotlight on Pereira Pastures Dairy – Less Pasture? More Fodder!
Like many farmers across the nation, Albert Pereira of Pereira Pastures Dairy knows what it’s like to deal with drought and dwindling pastureland for his dairy herd. As the only “Licensed Raw for Retail” dairy farm in West Texas, Pereira raises Jersey cows, which are known for their high-protein and high-quality milk yield. However, when drought conditions were destroying Pereira’s grazing pastures, he knew it was time to start looking for new feed solutions.
“Prior to the drought, our herds were grazing on pasture grasses, as well as alfalfa and coastal hay,” Pereira says. When the drought began affecting his land, “We had to rely 100% on purchased hay, which is very scarce around here,” Pereira explains. When he began trucking in hay from Colorado, nearly 500 miles away, Pereira began researching his options. While reading about different systems, both in the United States and Australia, he discovered FarmTek’s Fodder-Pro 2.0 Feed Systems. His research prompted him to purchase a Full-Size Compact System in December 2012. When asked why he chose FarmTek’s fodder system, Pereira explains, “I’m very hands on, and liked the fact that I could set up the system in an existing building, and that it was customizable to my situation.” The financing offers also made it easy for Pereira to get started with little up-front cost.
Since his purchase, Pereira has seen the benefits of adding fodder into his feed regimen. “I have seen an increase in production, butterfat and protein,” he states. “Now that we are feeding fodder, I have also seen the color of the milk go back to the way it was when we had pasture for the cows to graze on.” He continues, “Milk from pastured cows has that nice, rich, off-white color from the high levels of Vitamin A, which had been lost when they couldn’t graze, and now it’s back.” Not only has Pereira seen an improvement in his herd, but he has been able to replace some of the $325 a ton alfalfa he was feeding, which saves him money while still producing high-quality milk. Not only has Pereira seen these benefits, but his cows seem to enjoy the fodder. “They love it,” he says, “and consume it very willingly and aggressively!”
Since his purchase, Pereira has been pleased with his system. He notes, “Hydroponics can be tricky, but with some time and patience, I have been able to get it just right.” When he explains why he likes the system, he states, “I like seeing the progression of the seeds from day to day. I like being able to have green, luscious sprouts for our cows to enjoy every single day, regardless of weather.” He continues, “Everything in the system is very well thought out, simple to put together and effective. It’s simple and easy to use.”
For more information about Albert Pereira and Pereira Pastures Dairy, visit www.pereirapastures.com.