Mkulima today I have received many requests from clients who would like to venture into dairy farming. 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 today we are going to navigate through the waters of dairy farming that most farmers always ignore and learn the hard way with huge sent in their bank accounts.
Dairy farming requires a determined, patient person. Remember if you decide to dive into dairy farming there will be no holidays for you. Just like other farming ventures you need to be hands-on all the way.
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 will need to have some routines.
One of the routines to follow is of milking the cows at the same intervals and time daily. You should adhere to the strictness of following your desired milking schedule. This helps your cows get comfortable with the routine and greatly affects milk production.
You as a dairy farm owner must invest in learning the basics of bookkeeping helping you manage the progress of the investment.
Keeping good records will help you clearly understand areas that need improvement and areas that are being profitable on the farm and how it affects the daily operations and affect your bottom line.
Good records will also help you during 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, TLC as it is commonly known.
Doing this will help you get better returns on your investment and the projections that you have for your farm.
If the animals are handled roughly they can and will hold back the milk. This will result in huge losses and wastage on your farm and undesired results.
This will not only have a bad effect on your production in terms of milk output in liters but there is a higher risk of the animals being exposed to mastitis.
If you have employees remember that teamwork on your farm is the key to success. Ensure the teams 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.
Producing your own feed will help you reduce your operating costs.
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.
Ensure the milking machines are constantly monitored and serviced in order not to hurt the animals or lead to wastage and the cows 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 to stop incurring additional costs in its maintenance and feeding.
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 the person doing the milking cleans their hands thoroughly before and after milking or visiting the toilet.
You can ensure you have cleaning stations easily accessible. There should be no 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 diseases when milking.
Lastly, you should spoon-feed your dairy cattle.
When the animals move around they 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. Better quality milk and high production capacity is what will help you achieve your dreams.
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