Centro de Cria & Recria Agropecuária KR is a 34-acre (14 hectare) farm in the city of Guaratinguetá in the Paraiba River Valley in São Paulo, Brazil.
Brothers Felipe Tadeu Kodel Roxo and Luis Henrique Kodel Roxo, however, don’t operate a typical dairy farm. Instead, these Certified Humane® farmers are pioneers in outsourcing cow-calf operations in one of the largest dairy basins in the country.
During college, in 2008, the Roxo brothers learned about outsourcing cow-calf operations in the US. A typical cow-calf operation in the U.S. maintains a breeding herd of cows, including young heifers and bulls, to provide heifer calves to dairy farmers or for their own breeding program. No such operations existed in Brazil.
When the Roxo brothers inherited 34-acres of their great grandfather’s original Karakuara Farm in 2011, they realized it was much too small to raise beef cattle and would require a significant investment to operate a dairy farm. So, they decided to introduce the first outsourced cow-calf operation in their region.
Instead of the typical cow-calf operation found in the U.S. where they maintain their own breeding herd, the Agropecuária KR farm takes in heifers from Sao Bento Dairy Farm, a Certified Humane® farm located in Cachoeira Paulista city, in São Paulo, Brazil, to artificially inseminate the cows, and then return them to Sao Bento Farm to give birth. When the calf is born, it remains with the mother for 80 to 90 days (till weaning) at Sao Bento Dairy Farm and then is sent to Agropecuária KR Farm where its raised with other calves. Around 20-months-old (around 772 pounds/350 kgs and 4 months to calving), the calf is returned to the milking herd.
Sao Bento Dairy Farm introduced the Roxo brothers to the Certified Humane® program who joined the program “to show our partners that we care about good nutrition, the health of the animals, and animal welfare,” says Felipe. “Outsourcing the calf-raising period brings numerous advantages to the dairy farmer by providing more available area for forage production for milking cows.”
When the Roxo brothers learned about the Certified Humane® program from Sao Bento Dairy Farm, they felt the program matched their company philosophy.
“We understand that animals need a healthy environment, gentle handling conditions and the chance to perform their natural behaviors in a natural setting,” says Luis. “Visitors to our farm always praise our gentleness with the animals and we want people to know how much we care about them. The Certified Humane® program’s third-party inspection and certification of our program verifies our commitment to the animals and the consumers we serve.”