They are the fourth generation on the family farm (and will soon be joined by their children): the Marcolin brothers are proud to produce milk used in the cheese making of Grana Padano. With their 100 dairy cows on 48 ha of UAA, they constantly seek to improve their productivity.
Direction theItaly for the second report of our series! Angelo and Enzo Marcolin open the doors of their dairy farm located in Vicenza in the Padua region in northern Italy. The two brothers settled in 2015 on the family farm. And on 48 ha of irrigated land, they produce 1.2 million liters of milk which go into making the famous cheese. Grana Padano.
90% food self-sufficiency
With 48 ha of UAA, the two brothers manage to feed the hundred dairy cows as well as the students. In a fertile region with irrigation on all the plots, in other words the yields are correct (over 16 t DM/ha for maize harvested in shredlage, 7 alfalfa cuts per year).
They are in “soil preservation” agriculture, in other words with the least possible work. “The area lends itself well. Above all, we take care of the fertility of the soil and it works. »
Operation is self-sufficient fodder. “We only buy CMV, corn flour, as well as soybean and sunflower flour,” they explain. They make many cuts of prairie hay and alfalfa thanks to the dryer in boots allowing up to 24 boots to be dried at once (no hot air, just ventilation). “Alfalfa above all allows us to bring in protein for quality milk, explains Enzo. Thanks to her, the dairy has awarded us several prizes. »
Dealing with heatstroke
On the Marcolin Farm, the cows moved from tethering to free stalling in 1999. They are in cubicles + mattresses, and rubber mats for the exercise area. The milking parlor is a simple 2×10 piece of equipment. As for the calves, they are in individual pens for up to 60-70 days, then they move to collective housing and very quickly to stalls.
In this region, summer temperatures can rise sharply. So the two brothers set up fans and above all a air conditioner which is triggered automatically as soon as the ambient temperature exceeds 24°C. When this happens, all sides of the building are closed off with windbreak netting to keep things cool. “This summer when we noted 38°C outside, we managed to maintain 28°C in the barn. That’s why we put the calf hutches in front of the cows, they are better here than outside. »
Enzo did not mention figures for the energy consumption of such an installation, but he affirms that “it is certainly expensive but there is no loss of milk so we find ourselves there economically speaking”.
Love and pass on your profession
” The drought and increased loads are not yet impacting operating results because on the one hand we have irrigation, and on the other hand we still had a lot of stock from 2021 with good harvests of hay and corn. The breeder remains confident: “We have already experienced worse times, like fifteen years ago. We have prepared for it. »
For Enzo and Angelo, breeding has a future. ” The profitability is in the existing. You don’t need to grow to be profitable. We seek to optimize productivity on our surface to produce quality food (by limiting external purchases) and thus produce quality milk. »
They are confident and in turn want to pass on their business to their children who will be the fifth generation on the farm. “Resilience depends on understanding (and constantly learning) our profession, and the love we have for it. The two brothers notably regularly host schools on the farm to communicate about their profession and pass on their passion.
[La ferme Marcolin en Italie] Produce 1.23 million liters of milk as a family on 48 ha