How to Start a Dairy Farm


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start a dairy farm dairy farms take a

lot of money and capital to startup way

more than a meat operation does know

what you're getting into and how you

want to get into it before you decide to

start a dairy farm even if you grew up

on a farm managing your own means

sitting down for long careful planning

sessions this guide will help you

through these but remember that local

knowledge is invaluable for any farmer

research species and breed the most

common dairy animals are cows goats or

water buffalo each one has many dairy

breeds and local knowledge is your best

way to choose between them contact

government institutions University

agricultural extensions and established

dairy farms and ask for info to help you

make the decision 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

their local demand for the breeds milk

what about for butter and cheese 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 labour

but more money new farms often save on

costs by supplementing it with

management intensive rotational grazing

look at land rental prices in your area

and determine how many cattle per acre

it can support livestock need about four

percent 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 financial flexibility 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 service at breeding

time or practicing artificial

insemination AI is almost always the

cheapest option and has equal or higher

success rates when performed correctly

artificial insemination programs are now

widespread in India and many African

countries the savings are not as

significant and the programs vary in

quality but it is still usually worth it

male is to female herd ratio varies

between species and with the male's age

a young bull can typically service

twenty to twenty five cows while a

healthy mature bull may be able to

handle up to 40


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 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

are willing to do some repairs yourself

whether you plan to buy or start at all

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 and equipment storage area

well for watering cattle plus water

transport system 2 tanks in pasture

irrigation system for pasture inspect

all dairy animals personally before

buying including several milking tests

the animals should be healthy and

vaccinated against disease ideally

purchased the animals right after

calving on its 2nd or 3rd lactation 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 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 your local

or regional government may require

permits and paperwork to run a farm sell

milk irrigate your land and hire staff

to help you 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 selling manure contact government

institutions about subsidies and loans

for farmers before you take out a loan

from a bank use the average milk prices

over the past few years when estimating

future profits you don't want your

business to go under if milk prices drop

as a rule of thumb you will need one

laborer pretend milk animals and one per

20 dry animals this includes you and

your family assuming you have more than

a few animals you will need to mark them

to tell them apart this will help you

track individual milk production and

illness tagging is a common method

always buy disease-free animals and keep

them isolated from other animals during

transportation to your farm quarantine a

new arrivals 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 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 mineral licks or mineral

supplements are an important part of the

animals diet moldy feed or feed stored

in the same area as pesticides and other

contaminants can transfer dangerous

toxins to the milk dairy animals have

high nutrition requirements compared to

animals raised for meat improper

nutrition can lead to lower milk

production or lower quality milk 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 utter before milking if

you've never milked an animal before

learn how to milk a cow or goat

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 animals 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 whether to

sell slaughter or keep an animal is one

of the toughest questions for a dairy

farmer calling 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 per profit of producing

each male and female calf as well



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