Of the 1.8 million cows in California, over 6,000 of them belong to one family whose journey from Portugal to the Central Valley has been a long and rewarding one.
Costa-View Dairy hasn’t always been in Madera, California. In fact, this All West customer has had quite the journey to their current location. Costa-View Dairy was started in the 1950s by Joseph Azevedo’s grandfather, Dimas Costa, in Chino, California.
“Dimas was much respected and was a well-liked gentleman in the dairy industry. He was the epitome of success, coming to the United States from Portugal, starting with nothing and building a prosperous business,” said All West Salesman Denis Curtin, who has sold Costa-View semen since they moved to Madera in 1996.
The herd is managed by the next generation of Costa-View, Joseph Azevedo. “Joseph’s grandfather shaped him into the great cow man that he is today and showed him the importance of hard work and honesty,” explained Denis.
Joseph has two uncles and 12 cousins; Joseph being the only cousin who took an interest in the dairy. Joseph and his two uncles, Bill and Larry, are the ones that oversee daily operations on the dairy. Joseph’s father, Daryl, is the one behind the scenes growing and harvesting all of the many different crops that Costa-View is producing. Along with family members, Costa-View employs roughly 90 people, between the dairy and farming operations.
Currently Costa-View Dairy is milking 6,500 Holstein cows and ships their milk to California Dairies Inc. (CDI). They have two milk parlors, one double-20 parallel and one double-45 parallel. Costa- View is currently 35% registered and they classify their cows three times a year. They have over 6,000 acres of farm land where they grow almonds, alfalfa, oats, and corn.
Joseph took over the reproduction portion of the family farm when he was 17 years old. When choosing bulls, he pays close attention to type and genomics, while also carefully looking at production and profitability. Ninety percent of the bulls they use are genomic and they use sexed semen on all of their virgin heifers. Joseph has milking daughters out of bulls like SUPERSIRE, MOGUL, MCCUTCHEN and OBSERVER, along with other genomic and young sire bulls.
Costa-View Farms also takes part in the Select Sires PGA young sire program, using about 200 units of semen a month. They’re using four different A.I. companies, relying on Select Sires for 35% of their total business.
Joseph is always looking for the newest and hottest bull and does what it takes to get a hold of him ASAP. This aggressive attention to getting and using the best genetics has paid off in the caliber of the herd, according to Denis. “Joseph has been buying top bulls from Select Sires for years and you can tell just by looking at his cows.”
Purebred Holsteins are Joseph’s passion. While breeding strong, commercial cows with outstanding production, Joseph also breeds and raises show cows. He has been quite successful in the show ring, both locally and nationally.
Costa-View goes beef!
As of December 2014, Joseph has sunk his teeth into another livestock production project – raising pure bred Wagyu beef cattle. Wagyu beef produces some of the most desired cuts of meat in the world. It is genetically predisposed to intense marbling, with a high percentage of oleaginous unsaturated fat. Joseph, along with Dr. Jimmy Webb (Webb ET Services), have developed a partnership where they are doing embryo work with Wagyu beef cattle. Their plan is to build up their herd and market and sell their embryos.
Costa-View is like many California Central Valley dairies in that they want to be on the cutting edge of technology. Through their aggressive use of new, high genomic bulls, they are developing a herd of high-testing, high-performing cows, some of which are show ready as well! For Joseph, the thrill of the dairy industry lies in raising and breeding good cows that have strong type and produce quality milk. – Randy Edwards
Randy Edwards serves as a marketing intern for All West in the early summer months of 2015. He will be returning to Cal Poly as a dairy science student in the fall.