Parmigiano Reggiano is produced in the plains, hills and mountains, enclosed between the Po and the Reno river, in the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena and part of the provinces of Mantua and Bologna. The Azienda Agricola Emilia is located in the countryside of Modena, in a small fraction of Spilamberto.
Managed exclusively at family level, the company has been fully renovated and the animals dwelling there benefit from the so-called free stall: they can lie in their bunks, drinking and feeding independently, being able to interact with each other, leading a life as close as possible to their nature. This modern lifestyle makes it possible for animals to live in optimal health and hygiene conditions, depriving them of even the slightest stress and this is the fundamental starting point for the production of high-quality milk. To do this, in fact, the cows are also constantly monitored through the use of modern computers that help manage a large number of animals.
Rationing of dairy cattle is based on the use of local fodder and is managed in accordance with a strict regulation establishing that in the daily ration, at least 50% of the fodder dry matter must be represented by hay and supplemented by feed able to balance the intake of various nutrients in the diet. To this end, the company relies on a qualified nutritionist. After the insertion of ration components inside the cart, everything is mixed and ground to create homogeneity.
Twice a day, the enterprise witnesses the important phase of milking. The preparation takes place in tank room: filters are inserted in the system so that the milk can get pure from the cow-tank passage and after sanitizing the floor, the milking starts. The system is composed of 20 posts and allows a constant and fluid milking of 20 animals at the same time. At the start of the milking, the cows head in the waiting room and as soon as the gate is opened, they enter and arrange themselves in a row, inside of the posts to be milked, while the others remain in the room and wait for their turn.
Milking is one of the most important and delicate moments for our work and is the result of a laborious and difficult management of barn and animals. It consists of 3 phases: the first phase is the one related to the preparation of the breast: this is dry-cleaned to remove surface dirt, then nipples are disinfected and cleaned carefully. The second stage is the actual milking. Once the milking machine is attached, milked milk is conveyed in a large cooling tank which keeps it agitated at a temperature of 20° C approximately. After milking, the third and last phase, the milking machine is disconnected and nipples are disinfected with an appropriate product, which prevents the formation of unpleasant mammary infections. At the end of the third stage, the cows return finally in stables where they continue their routine.
The tanker comes from the dairy, which is a few miles away from the company. The milk is measured and pumped on the truck. At the end of this operation, the tanker returns to dairy and milk collection ends while the long process of the production of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese begins.