Our core objective as your consultant is to make sure that you succeed in your business. We have high quality solutions & services that fulfill all livestock farming needs, regardless of the size and scale of operations. We can provide customized solutions and services to ensure sustainable production of milk and meat to maximize profits for farmers and milk and meat processors.
The areas of focus for entrepreneurs in these sectors before starting the business are:
Dairy Farm Business Planning
- Shed design.
- Research species and breed.
- Decide on a food source.
- Create a breeding plan.
- Study farming practices
- Invest in capital.
- Find a good source for animals.
- Animal housing is the most essential factor in dairy farming. A good housing leads to good management practices and ultimately optimum production. The housing of dairy animals depends upon:-
- Number of animals
- Type of breed of animals
- Local environmental conditions
- Finances available
- Facilities to be provided
- For housing it should also be considered that animals should have five types of freedoms
- Freedom from hunger and thirst
- Freedom from discomfort
- Freedom from pain, injury and disease
- Freedom to express normal behavior
- Freedom from fear and distress
- Before designing the shed for your animals, you must cater for some basics which are :-
- Location and basic design is very important for your shed and animals.
- Ventilation and protection from the rain and winds is also very important.
- Environmental condition of the area is also taken into consideration before starting the shed layout.
Research species and breed
The most common dairy animals are cows, goats (good for a small farm) and buffalo. Each one has many dairy breeds, and local knowledge is your best way to choose between them. Rule out breeds that can't thrive in your climate.
- For each breed, divide annual upkeep cost by annual milk production to find production cost per unit of milk.
- Is there local demand for the breed's milk (based on species and milk fat %)? Also consider butter and cheese (where a high fat % is useful)?
- How much time and money does it take to raise a calf to milk-producing age? How much can you sell the male calves for?
Decide on a food source
- Concentrated feed requires less labor but more money. New farms often save on costs by supplementing it with Management Intensive Rotational Grazing (MIRG). Look at land rental prices in your area and determine how many cattle per acre it can support.
- Livestock need about 4% of their weight in forage each day. Ideally, your pasture should produce more than this at peak season, so you can stockpile the surplus for winter.
- Renting land is usually better than purchasing for a new farm. Wait until your farm is well-established and you no longer need the rental arrangements
Create a breeding plan
Dairy bulls have a reputation for dangerous behavior, and in any case raising one year round gets expensive. The safer options are paying for a bull's service at breeding time, or practicing artificial insemination (AI). AI is almost always the cheapest option, and has equal or higher success rates when performed correctly (ideally by trained AI techs).
- Artificial insemination programs are now widespread the world over. The savings are not as significant and the programs vary in quality, but it is still usually worth it.
- Male to female herd ratio varies between species and with the male's age. A young bull can typically service 20–25 cows, while a healthy, mature bull may be able to handle up to 40.
Study farming practices
If you don't have dairy farm experience already, take some time to learn about breeding, calving, manure management, weaning, milking cows, and crop management. Farming requires a great deal of time, work, and knowledge, so walk into it with open eyes.
- If this is all new to you, try to get some work experience on another dairy farm first.
Investment in capital
A farm requires a large one-time expenditure to get started. Buying an existing dairy farm makes the task simpler, and can save money if you're willing to do some repairs yourself. Whether you plan to buy or start it all by yourself, make sure you'll have the following facilities:-
- A sterile facility for storing milk, and for pasteurizing if required in your area
- Dry, sunny sheds or barns protected from weather and temperature changes
- Milking parlor with stanchions
- Feed storage and manure storage
- Separate living space for calves
- Equipment (including tractors) and equipment storage area
- Well for watering cattle, plus water transport system to tanks in pasture
- Irrigation system for pasture (optional).
Find a good source for animals
Inspect all dairy animals personally before buying, including several milking tests. The animal should be healthy and vaccinated against disease. Ideally, purchase the animals right after calving, on its second or third lactation (when milk production is highest).Wait to buy the second half the herd until the first group is about to go dry, so your farm can produce milk year round.
Research the local milk market
If you're starting with just a few animals, talk to nearby dairy farmers for advice on selling to local stores and individuals. If you have a slightly larger herd, you can get a more stable income by selling the milk to a company that will handle distribution
Create a business plan
Put all your financial estimates into a plan that covers the first few years of your business. In addition to the necessary items above, remember to include the estimated cost of veterinary care per animal, and the cost of any labor you plan to hire. Also look into an additional source of profit like selling manure.
- Contact government institutions about subsidies and loans for farmers before you take a loan from a bank.
- Use the average milk prices (or slightly lower) over the past few years when estimating future profits. You don't want your business to suffer if milk prices drop.
Basic learning before starting the business
- Mark each individual animal.
- Control the spread of disease.
- Give the animals proper nutrition.
- Milk the animals frequently.
- Understand the breeding cycle.
- Plan for changes in your herd.
Mark each individual animal
Assuming that you have more than a few animals, you'll need to mark them to tell them apart. This will help you track individual milk production and illness. Tagging is a common method.
Control the spread of disease
Always buy disease-free animals, and keep them isolated from other animals during transportation to your farm. Quarantining new arrivals (and animals that fall sick) is recommended, especially if they do not have trustworthy, recent health records. Your local government or veterinarian can give you specific advice about diseases in your area.
- Equipment shared between farms can spread disease. Try to confirm where the equipment has been used and whether the animals there were healthy.
- Disease-carrying ticks are a major problem for livestock. Inspect animals for ticks regularly, and keep the shed area clear of brush.
Give the animals proper nutrition
Feeding cattle and other livestock can be a complicated business. There are many different kinds of fodder and forage plants, which provide different amounts of energy, protein, roughage, and various nutrients. A veterinarian or experienced farmer can help you work with the food you have available.
Milk yield of a dairy animal depends on four main factors: (a) genetic ability; (b) feeding program; (c) herd management; and (d) health. As cows continue to improve genetically, we must also improve nutrition and management to allow the cow to produce to her inherited potential. A good dairy feeding program must consider the quantity fed, the suitability of the feed and how and when the feeds are offered.
Milk the animals frequently
Milk-producing animals typically need milking two or three times a day. Move the animal to a clean location. Wash and dry your hands and the udder before milking.If you've never milked an animal before, learn how tomilk a cow or If your herd size is larger, then use the milking machine (parlour system).
Understand the breeding cycle
You will need to breed your female animals regularly to keep them lactating as often as possible. The cycle of breeding, calving, and weaning calves has implications for the animal's nutrition needs, health, and of course milk production. Our guide on cows gives you the basics, but this will vary based on species and age. Unlike farms that raise livestock for meat, you will be calving all year round to keep milk production steady. Keeping track of where each animal is in the cycle is vital so you can stick to a plan that keeps your income as regular as possible.
Plan for changes in your herd
Whether to sell, slaughter, or keep an animal is one of the toughest questions for a dairy farmer. Culling allows you to replace a low-yield animal with a higher-quality replacement, and to increase the genetic quality of your herd. Both of these factors are important, but performing them without a plan can add massive costs for replacement animals. Take this into account in your business plan, and include the cost/profit of producing each male and female calf as well.
It's no exaggeration to say that our solutions increase your profits.
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