Kalējiņi 1 Farm is located in the Smiltene region of northern Latvia and over the past 12 years has developed into one of the largest dairy farms in the country.
Not so long ago, the farm purchased a new JUMBO 8010L trailer from PÖTTINGER. Thanks to the electric power steering on two axles, injection system, automatic blade sharpening, the latest technical solutions for optimizing the lifting mechanism and rotor control, this loader wagon is one of the most advanced in Latvia. The owner of Kalējiņi 1 Farm, Kaspars Putrālis, runs a dairy farm, produces feed supplements and works as a consultant. The farm employs 19 people. Kalējiņi 1 Farm's activities are divided as follows: 70 % dairy production, 27 % feed supplements, 3 % consultation. Kaspars's family has been working on this farm for five generations. Over the last twelve years they have become more professional by implementing experience and knowledge on agricultural operations and genetics gained in America. Kaspars explains: "twelve years ago, we started with 24 cows and an annual milk yield of 5,500 litres, which at that time counted as a very good indicator. Right now there are 420 cows on the farm which produce 13,000 litres of milk; one of the highest in Latvia and in Europe."
Kaspars believes that in order to have a successful farm one needs a piece of paper, a pencil, a calculator and a small bit of luck! When asked about the current situation in dairy industry Kaspars admits: "currently the market is unstable and it is impossible to predict anything, however, there are things that do not require persistent attention because we cannot influence them. Now we need to concentrate on reasonable expense optimizing which does not influence employee salaries. Our employees are very important to us because a shortage of employees in farming is currently a huge problem."
When asked why he chose the Pöttinger loader wagon offered by Stokker Agritech, Kaspars admits that the choice was based on an economic calculation. However, in the farm the priority will always be personal relationships and service, that is why he chooses his dealers carefully. It is important to Kaspars that each purchase is reasonable from A to Z therefore the farm selects equipment dealers who work from their heart and love their job. "I do not make a decision until equipment efficiency has been proven to me. I want to receive back everything I have invested and a little bit more," says Kaspars. Service is very important because not many farms have spare parts on hand. If something happens, it can cause financial loss, that is why Kalējiņi 1 Farm expects 24 h service and consultation, which Stokker Agritech successfully delivers.
Currently there are seven Pöttinger units on the farm – loader wagon, mowers, rake and tedder. The first Pöttinger equipment was purchased almost seven years ago. The most important phase of dairy cattle tending is quality forage preparation, which is why on this farm it is being prepared by Pöttinger equipment only. The carefully groomed grassland needs to be harvested quickly to a very high quality level because the whole season depends on it. If there is no high-quality forage, you can forget about the rest. In this case precision takes top priority. Kaspars believes that Pöttinger is the leader in loader wagon manufacturing. If someone does not believe that loader wagons can be used effectively in Latvia, he can prove that it is very convenient. "As acceptance with the cattle increases, so does demand. You need a scientifically proven forage structure, which can be obtained with using a rotary cutting system. Unfortunately, from a technical point of view, these are expensive and uneconomical machines, which is why together with Stokker Agritech's representative Gatis, we looked for a different solution, which would be a good alternative. Right now, we are very close to the result which rotary cutters offer, however, the most important thing is that this equipment helps us to gain a 13,000 litre milk yield. We are delighted! This wagon has many advantages, for example, fuel consumption goes down and we can put more forage into the silage pit," says Kaspars.
Kaspars believes that there are not many similar farms in Latvia and people are shy to share advice. That is why they think by themselves what, how and when to do it better. It is never easy for the first one, but it is very satisfying. Kaspars constantly thinks of new technologies and opportunities and which of these to put into practice. When one project has been completed, he takes on the next challenge.