CiaoLatte, Italy :
ProCROSS & Parmesan, the winning combo
A ProCROSS organic farm producing Parmesan cheese
Filippo Peveri, a 26-year-old dairy farmer in Parma, Italy, is at the head of family business. All the family is involved in the farm: Filippo himself and his father manage the stables and the land, his brother the cheese making and his mother & sister takes care of quality control and welcoming customers to the shop.
The farm, CiaoLatte, produces organic milk, which is processed on site into cheese, the famous: Parmigiano Reggiano.
The Parmesan cheese is then sold on the Swiss market. It is labeled “Bio Suisse”, a prestigious label which guarantees the quality of the product.
Today, Filippo is milking 95 ProCROSS cows. Filippo & his family decided to embark on the ProCROSS adventure more than 8 years ago now.
Searching for more robust cows
The farm was originally entirely Holstein. Filippo & his family decided to embark on the ProCROSS adventure more than 8 years ago now. In 2012, their objectives were simple: “We were searching for more rustic animals, adapted to a low input feeding system” said Filippo.
In fact, the Parmesan specification is very strict when it comes to feeding cows. 90% of the feed must be dry or fresh forage. In CiaoLatte, the cows are only feed with 10% of concentrate. The aim is to reduce that amount to reach 5% of concentrate in 2022.
CiaoLatte selected the ProCROSS cows to meet their strict specifications: “The ProCROSS cows can convert low input feed, milk & get pregnant”, simply sums up Filippo.
Healthy & adaptable animals
Filippo described the 3 main advantages of his ProCROSS cows compared to his Holstein: “Since the first cross calves, we saw the better vitality of the calves. That’s amazing”.
He added: “ProCROSS are very adaptable animals, because to do Parmigiano Reggiano, we can only use dry or fresh feed, practically no silage. The hay is particularly important during the wintertime”.
He also describes the ProCROSS cows as more robust than the Holsteins.
The selection of bulls: simple and efficient
Regarding the bulls’ selection, Filippo’s answer is simple : “We only select bulls with good cheese capabilities, A2A2 & BB,” he added: “we pick one bull per breed”, it’s easier to manage.
“At the beginning, we started by inseminating our heifers with VikingRed bulls & the cows with Montbeliarde bulls”, because cheese making is CiaoLatte’s main source of income.
A booming farm
Filippo Peveri is already in the process of expanding his operation, he will start to milk in his 3rd dairy farm, in May 2021.
The farm also includes a small shop: “The ProCROSS cows like to graze” and he adds: “they make a free & good advertising for my shop window”.
Filippo Peveri ended up concluding: “If I have some advice for a dairy farmer who wants to start ProCROSS: just use the best bulls from each breed, and the results will follow”.
The key points:
Started ProCROSS in 2012
95 ProCROSS cows
Production : 25.4 kg/d milk, 3.83 Fat% / 3.49 Protein%
Parmesan cheese producer
10% of diet DM
Starting in 2022: 5% of diet DM
Feeding based on pasture (spring/summer) + Auto feeder
May 2021 : they will start milking in their 3rd new farm