Arizona Dairy Company – Gila Bend, AZ
“That’s what it’s all about: taking care of our assets, and our cows are one of our biggest.”
Justin Stewart, owner of Arizona Dairy Company in Gila Bend, Ariz., explains that this asset: a herd of 3,250 milking cows and 500 dry cows, plus youngstock, is a nice herd and is something he is very proud of.
“The better we take care of them, the longer they last,” he adds. His motto: Treat every cow like she is your only cow. “She’ll have her own accidents, but it’s important to try and minimize those and promote her life, giving her the most relaxing environment.”
So when it came to cow mats to protect these valuable bovine assets, the KRAIBURG KURA interlocking milking parlor mats have been a continual resource for the farm.
“On the top of the concrete, you need a good mat,” Stewart explains, “and the mats from Agromatic are the best in the industry.”
His real-life experience has proven this to be true.
A Next-Generation Vision
Arizona Dairy Co. celebrates 50 years in business this year, and last year made a full-dairy move to the Gila Bend location. He sold half the herd, and now spends the extra time focused on the dairy and high-end genetics, quality milk production, but also ag advocacy. It’s not unusual to find him sharing the farm’s story on social media, or giving tours to local chefs and elementary school children!
Stewart’s father-in-law, Kenny Morrison, started the dairy in 1973 and grew it to the largest in the state of Arizona during the mid 80’s.
“We’re very proud to be in business and celebrate 50 years, and we’re going to try and make a good push to see another 50,” he says.
To do that, Stewart raises most of their replacement heifers through an on-site IVF lab, where embryos are created from the top 10 percent of the farm’s genetic lines.
“I want our animals to last longer, look better, and produce the highest amount of milk, butter fat and protein they can,” he explains. “We put a little more money into genetics than the average commercial dairy, which is what we still are.”
Stewart is passionate about this side of the business but explains that the bottom line still is the actual care of the animals, and a big part of that care is the KRAIBURG mats they spend time on. KRAIBURG KURA mats were installed in both the holding areas that hold groups of 325 cows and also in the double-40 parlor.
“If the animals are stressed or not comfortable, then they’re not going to get pregnant,” he explains. “The goal is to increase the value of each calf for the next generation.”
The cows at Arizona Dairy Co. are washed with water every day. An in-ground wash bay dusts them off on their way to the parlor, prepping udders for milking. The dairy’s somatic cell count average is very low, around 165,000, and Stewart attributes that to the high level of cow comfort and care the farm implements daily.
“When a cow has good footing, she feels much safer and more comfortable, and is going to let her milk down, and also give us more milk,” he says. “I want them to come into that parlor relaxed, sure footed. And if they’re walking on hard concrete, or slippery old mats, they won’t.”
Long-lasting quality mats; clean, comfortable cows; a strong dairy equipment partner; and well, life is good, concludes Stewart.
“If you take care of your cows, they will take care of you.”