• Русский

    OOO "Rozhdestvo"
    Rozhdestvo, Prtushinsky rayon
    Vladimidskaya oblast
    601105, Russian Federation
    Tel/fax:8 (49243) 2-52-89; 2-52-93
    E-mail: rozhdestvo@yku.ru

  • Christmas Story – Fact or Fiction?

    Western Technology on Vladimir Land


    After a next turn of a snow-covered country road March grey-white palette is suddenly replaced by a farm’s bright colours. In front by the road, in front of the gate there is a small chapel with a shining gold dome against the background of dark pines and grey sky. We enter the gate and see the oasis with yellow and blue farm buildings, a nice house, machines moving around the area, and a cow of plastic, covered with snow; it all gives an impression of a distant fairy world. The name of the farm matches the impression it gives, it’s Christmas. Manager of the complex, Lorin Grams and Kathie, his wife, nice and friendly, tell us about the farm, show us around milking and food storage sections, and the farm area. Lots of questions arise at once, and the first one is how this dairy wonder appeared in Vladimir Region, what its history is and who its owner is.

    In the Beginning

    The farm owner, John Kopiski, an Englishman of Polish origin, earned his assets with a large coal company and further invested them into the Russian land. It was all preceded by a romantic story of his marriage to a Russian Orthodox girl, who had refused to leave Russia and only agreed to marry a coreligionist. Thus John Copisky became an Orthodox, and later acquired Russian citizenship. This is one of the components of his attitude to life and work: he educates his children in love of Russia, attends Russian holy places with his family, restores churches and builds chapels. He believes Russia bears tremendous spiritual potential and unrealized capacities. John Kopiski is engaged in various activities. His agricultural self are two dairy farms. One of them is a 6 year-old Bogdarnya farm, established on the land, purchased from Klyazminsky state farm (sovkhoz), Petushinsky District. The other one is a dairy megacomplex, OOO Rozhdestvo (Christmas). This complex was built two years ago. At present it has 1458 milking cows, and about 600 calves. He also owns a feed production plant in the village of Vospushka. The farms are run according to Western dairy technologies. This is probably the reason why foreign experts at these technologies were employed as managers. Lorin and Kathie Grams, the Americans, won the competition for the managers positions.

    American Russians

    Lorin is a third generation farmer, he was trained in general management for 2 years and later – in animal raising and breeding. Kathie was trained in economics for 4 years. They are in charge of everything including staff matters, supplies, organization of the farm continuous operation and sales. They have mastered several professions and can be a substitute for any worker at the farm. This is a characteristic of a farmer’s approach to the business. Lorin and Kathie had had a farm back in Michigan. They had sold it and moved to Russia. They say their friends did not understand them as they were leaving. But this is all because Americans know little about Russians, although, Russians know little about Americans. Their son and daughter speak very good Russian, the girl attends a kindergarten (“sadik”, as Lorin calls it) in Petushki. The family live in the house at the farm. He says, “I cannot leave the cows”, when he is offered an apartment in the nearest village. When dealing with staffing, Lorin and Kathie give their preference to people who have no experience in farm business. Often times background experience becomes an impediment to working under the management system at this farm. The farm has a minimum of workers due to advanced technical equipment and, wherever possible, combination of professions. “We have no specialists, in our understanding – animal experts, agronomes. We can’t have so many supervisors”, Lorin/Laurin says. Only 4 veterinaries are in charge of the farm. As for zootechnics, agronomy, feed supplies and technologies, we have enough qualified consultants from various suppler and consulting companies.

    Innovatory Approach

    The farm structure is not common for Russian conditions. Light carcass constructions, a light roof and curtain walls. Cow barns have no heating. Biologically, cows are not pretentious at all, and cold will not affect their health and milk yield, provided they get good feed and water. The cows are kept in loose housing. The livestock manure is removed automatically; the removing equipment is installed under the slatted floor. The sections have timber flooring for rest and feeding cribs (feedboxes). Every section has a brush comb, rotating by the cow moving. Video monitoring is used in the cow barns. The cows receive complete mixed feed, prepared of various ingredients in a special feed dispenser. As cows are grouped according to their productivity, the feed is supplied according to the productivity of each single animal. The feeds are stored in a special place, where every ingredient is kept separately: press cake, soy, dried beet pulp and wheat. Silage of milk-wax maize is stored in a puddle trench on an asphalted ground under cellophane. Innovative methods of applying specially processed feed are used: protected albumen and fat. These products are decomposed not in cows’ paunches, but in small intestines, which provides better take up of the feed components. Feed distributor is used at the farm. The feeds are always fresh and the animals love them. Each cow has two electronic medallion-like sensors, fixed on their necks. One of them detects milking productivity, and the other one – physiological activity, that is, must period and the optimal insemination period. Three-time milking is performed in a milking room, equipped with DeLavalle company. The average efficiency is 26 liters per day. The milk is quickly cooled and placed into a cooling tanker; it is characterized by high quality and is sold to the Danon milk processing plant. The average cow productivity per 300 lactation days makes 7.5-9 thousand kg of milk. The Christmas Farm has Holstein-Fresian black and white cows, they are imported from Dane, whereas Bogdarnya has Swiss brown and Kostroma cows. _!!

    Snow-covered Houses

    Calves are kept outdoors in houses of plastic with loafing yards and sufficient amount of straw litter. Some little calves are covered with blankets during severe frosts. Before they are 45 days old, they are treated with calf milk replacer, and starting from the first day of their life a special combined feed is applied, and before the end of pre-weaning period they have a bucket of such feed per day. It promotes faster proventriculi development and better transition to the mixed feeding after the 45th day of life.

    American Optimism

    The farm has a lot of expensive Western equipment, tractors, loading machines and mixers. The amount of financial investments into the farm technical equipment is enormous, whereas the cattle and feeds storage buildings are as simple and cheap as possible. Another farm is planned to be built nearby, in Petushki. Lorin/Laurin and Cathy say, that you can never get bored in Russia, in comparison with America, where everything is foreseen and done according to plan. And in Russia something is sure to break in wrong time, or the weather may let you down. They say, that they see the same difference in business, Americans do everything quickly and efficiently, and Russians love the word “zavtra” (tomorrow) and hate “segodnia” (today). Nevertheless they are constantly learning something new here in Russia. They admire our culture and traditions, and they are dreaming of staying and working here for quite a long time, or the entire life, God willing.

    Author: Irina Gubanova