I have received many requests from clients who would like to venture into dairy farming. Well they might have been driven as a result of different reasons to go into dairy farming but the end result for all of them would be related in one way or another.
This is why I have written this article to help you navigate through the waters of dairy farming that most farmers always ignore and learn the expensive or the hard way.
Dairy farming requires a determined, patient person and remember if you decide to dive in there will be no holidays for you. The animals need to be fed, watered, cleaned, their health monitored and milked daily.
To enhance productivity on your farm in the long run you want to keep the routine of milking the cows at the same intervals and time. You should adhere to the strictness of following your desired milking schedule.
You as a dairy farm owner must invest in learning the basics of book keeping to help you manage the progress of the investment to know how the daily operations affect your bottom line and artificial insemination to ensure you are breeding the desired way and so you get the result that you desire.
You should treat your cattle with tender love and care so that you can get the returns on investment that you have projected for yourself. If the animals are handled roughly they can and will hold back the milk.
This not only have a bad effect in your production in terms of milk output in liters but there is a higher risk of the animals being exposed to mastitis.
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If you have employees remember to ensure the team have a good working relationship. This will not only ensure no part of the production lags behind.
With the whole team focused on the same goal and your vision as the farmer you can all work together to overcome the challenges but if the team is not synced there is a high chance some members of the team will be working to generate friction within the group leading to losses and time wastage.
To have a lean and profitable farm, you should invest in feed production on your own at least the ones you can produce and purchase those that you can’t produce on your own. For the farm to be economical, your farm should produce up to 75% of the fodder consumed as this is where most of your expenses will go.
Where financial ability is available you should seriously consider investing in automated milking systems.
Automation not only cuts on overheads but also boost production significantly but so you don’t count losses as a result of milking machines you want to make sure they are serviced regularly this keeps the cow comfortable.
There are serious risks to poor maintenance of milking machines such as the risk of losing their udder as a result of inflammation caused by the pressure from the milking machines.
By any chance if you have an animal that is unproductive by your standards I advise you stop inuring additional coasts in its maintenance. Unproductive animals should be selected from the herd and culled (killed) to avoid unnecessary operational costs.
High hygiene standards must be maintained at all times in the kraal, milking parlor and the cows themselves.
After milking ensure the udder is disinfected and kept standing for up to five minutes to allow for the closure of the sphincter muscle in the tit canal.
When hand milking ensure you or the person doing the milking cleans their hands thoroughly before and after milking or visiting the toilet. There should be not cuts or open wounds on the person handling the animals during milking. The person should also be healthy and not suffering from any of the contagious disease when milking.
Lastly you should spoon feed your dairy cattle. When the animals move around the use up energy that would rather be used in the synthesis of milk and giving you more work during sales and marketing of your products.
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