All of our farms have "Disease-Free" certificates issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, indicating that the animals in the business are free of bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis, and that all related protective measures have been taken. Our farms also have "European Union Certified Dairy Farm" certificates proving that our production operations meet European Union standards.
We have a dairy herd of 8,300 cows, 94% of which are high yielding Holsteins and we extensively use corporate management systems and information technologies for herd management. We manage our dairy farming operations through five Dairy Cattle Breeding Farms (DSSC) in total (3 in Karacabey and 2 in Aksaray), the Breeding Heifer Selection and Certification Center (DSB) (which consists of three separate farms focused on selection, insemination and breeding) and two training farms.
We meet the requirements of our dairy farmers by offering them dairy cows that are certified free of any disease, have been accordingly vaccinated for protection against all risks and have a high milk yield after the dairy cows complete the 12-month quarantine, monitoring and raising period at the Dairy Cattle Breeding Farms and Breeding Heifer Selection and Certification Center. With a healthy herd, we help dairy farmers to protect their investment, and support them to produce high-quality raw milk with a higher yield.
We recognize that the health and welfare of dairy cows have a direct impact on milk production, milk quality, food safety and the sustainability of the dairy industry, thus, we define animal welfare as one of our high-priority issues.
Our stakeholders find this issue very important as well. We manage the basic welfare needs of our farm animals within the framework of the internationally recognized "Five Freedoms" adopted by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
The "Five Freedoms" of Animal Welfare
- Freedom from hunger, malnutrition and thirst
- Freedom from physical and thermal discomfort
- Freedom from pain, injury and disease
- Freedom from fear and distress
- Freedom to express normal patterns of behavior
We believe that our success in dairy farming operations is based on our good animal care practices. In the light of our animal welfare policy, we have drawn up the "Animal Welfare" and "Good Dairy Farming Practices" handbooks based on the applicable guidelines and regulations of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Dairy Federation (IDF), World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the European Council in order to ensure animal welfare at our farms and during transportation operations, and we use these handbooks as a reference guide in all of our animal husbandry practices. Our animal care and protection practices are under the following four main titles:
We accommodate the animals in our dairy farms in different paddocks according to the age groups and their physical conditions, and provide them with sufficiently large areas where they can freely roam.
We continuously provide fresh air with ventilation fans in semi-open free-stall barns and use an automatic cooling system to prevent declines in milk yield due to heat stress.
The manure on the ground is removed by automated systems. We do not engage in practices such as branding, tail docking and tooth clipping which may be painful for our animals.
Before transport, we check whether the animals are healthy enough for transportation and ensure that they are transported in vehicles certified for animal transportation.
During long journeys, we provide animals with feed and water and allow them to rest.
Thanks to our practices focused on animal welfare, we increased the daily milk production per animal from 27 liters per day in 2015 to 34 liters per day in 2017. Thus, we achieved an increase of 26% in milk production within two years.
We created a separate updated disease management plan for each of our farms with a bio-safety procedure that is intended to minimize the risk of disease transmission. We continuously monitor the health of our animals under the supervision of experienced staff specialized in their respective fields.
We carry out the medical examinations of our cows and administer treatment in the treatment bay. Our herd undergo screening every other month for infectious diseases and we take all necessary measures to prevent infection and the spread of diseases.
We follow a vaccination schedule that we develop by considering the risks present in our country and in the regions where we operate.
With preventive healthcare, we minimize the amount of veterinary drugs used. We pay utmost attention to the use of antibiotics, antimicrobial resistance and drug residues during treatment and destroy the milk produced during the treatment and washout period to prevent risks to public health.
We feed the animals on our farms in a manner which supports their health and welfare and meets their specific needs based on their age, weight and behavioral and physiological needs. When feeding the animals, we use the natural and healthy feed that we directly produce.
We give fresh feed to the animals after each milking, three times a day. We ensure that the cows can reach fresh feed throughout the entire day by sweeping the feed at certain intervals. We provide our animals with a sufficient amount of high-quality water and analyze the water that they consume.
We practice breeding to improve the milk yield of the next generation of dairy cows and use the semen from appropriately selected animals. As we are aware of the fact that the reproductive performance of a herd is important for the sustainability of the farm, we make sure that each cow calves with at least a 420-day interval between births and that heifers become pregnant at 13-14 months of age so that they become dairy cows at 22-23 months of age.