On July 2, 2021, the RA Deputy Minister of Economy Tigran Gabrielyan and the Head of the Ministry’s Primary Agricultural Production Department Levon Ter-Isahakyan visited “Milk Farm” LLC operating in Jrarat district of Hrazdan community in Kotayk Marz.
Within the framework of the state assistance programs, a “smart” cattle house was established by the company, under the state program of “Development of cattle breeding in the Republic of Armenia in 2019-2024” 90 high-value pedigree animals of the Simmental breed were imported from Germany and Austria in 2019 and 2021, and a feed mixer-distributor was purchased by the agro-leasing program.
Accompanied by the company’s owner Garik Hovikyan and Director Gegham Tovmasyan, the officials of the Ministry toured the company, got acquainted with the conditions of animal care and feeding and equipment installed in the “smart” cattle house. The cattle house meets the criteria established by the program, is equipped with a milk parlor, where the milking operation is fully automated. All the conditions guaranteeing the comfort of the cows (the ceiling height, ventilation, lighting, water) have been taken into account, which aim at contributing to the increase of the milk yield.
Tigran Gabrielyan emphasized that the terms and procedures of the program are simplified, and when building a cattle house, farmers are free to choose construction materials.
“We are trying to introduce a new culture in the livestock breeding sector through construction or reconstruction of small and medium-sized “smart” cattle houses, and I hope the “smart” cattle house built by this company will serve as an example for other farmers, so that they also switch from the traditional to the intensive, untied parlor behavior, which will allow to provide higher quality livestock products”, said the Deputy Minister.
Tigran Gabrielyan highly praised the effectiveness of the program on “smart” cattle houses construction, noting that the interest of business entities in the program is growing. Noting that at present about 33 “smart” cattle houses have already been established in the Republic of Armenia, the Deputy Minister expressed hope that by the end of 2021 the number of “smart” cattle houses in the country will increase.
The Deputy Minister considered that the process of the program for development of cattle breeding is also successful, and within this program framework about 1,100 animals of Holstein, Simmental, and Angus breeds have already been acquired, whereby about 10-12% of the animals were acquired as pedigree animals bred in Armenia.
Given the concern of farmers due to water scarcity in the country, one of the key objectives of the tour was to explore alternatives for growing fodder to address this problem. In order to avoid problems caused by water scarcity and provide animals with more affordable and nutritious food, a modular system for growing hydroponic fodder has been introduced by “Milk Farm” company. By this modular automated system about 300kg of clean, disinfected fodder is generated daily from barley seeds. Seven days after the start of the growing process, the first day’s crop can already be harvested and used to feed animals.
Touching upon the efficiency of this method of growing fodder, Levon Ter-Isahakyan, in particular, noted: “The hydroponic production of green mass, which is directed to animal feeding, is a quite effective measure. Regardless of the season and weather conditions, animals receive full portions of food containing all the necessary nutrients”.
Taking into account the studies carried out, in near future it is planned to develop a corresponding state assistance program, by which business entities will be able to carry out on-site hydroponic production of green mass and provide animals with necessary fodder.
“Milk Farm” company plans to expand its enterprise in near future, as well as introduce an expanded system for hydroponic production of fodder.