Planning to start a dairy farm, remember it is a form of business and hence needs a business model, SWOT analysis to plan resources and expenditure. You need answer to questions like how many cows you need. How much will each cow milch? Where to find staff to work on your farm? What would be the investment plan, cash flow and revenues? To get answers to all these questions, you need to consult experts in the field. If you have people in the family who were in dairy business before you can take tips from them. After visiting farms from across the town you will get an idea on how the concept works.
Open houses and field days in your area could give you an idea on how the dairy business can be conducted. While visiting a farm find out what concept works and what does not. Just because it did not work in one farm it does not mean that it will not work in another. Apart from consulting farm owners also talk to nutritionist, veterinarians, bankers, agronomists, educators and others to understand the concept of dairy management.
You can leave your cattle to graze in the field or can go for Total Mixed Ration program or use the combination of the two. In any case the cattle need nutrients to grow, milk and calf. If you have a lactating cow it is best to consult a nutritionist. In most farms the forages and grain needs are self satisfactory. But raising your own feed means more time and effort. It also need equipment for sowing and harvesting. You can also call custom operator who can sow and harvest crops that may be able to satisfy the nutrition needs of the cow. Sharing resources with neighbors can help cut down on capital investment so that you can build on capital. Today double cropping, small grain crops are some of the methods use to increase the produce.
The good news about cattle farming is manure. There is a lot of waste produce and when managed properly it can turn out into a resource for your farm. Manure management, feeding and cropping program are all intertwined. Using double cropping system can only allow more feed and manure for your farm. Some of the alternative to manure is composting along with anaerobic manure digestion that provides an option for additional revenue giving your farm extra capital investment to start the dairy soon. Keeping a proper waste management system based on the farm size should be the goal of every farm.
A biological process
Dairy farming relies completely on the health of the cow, to produce milk and reproduce new calves. It is an important to have a detailed plan for the herd health, calf care and reproduction apart from having a financial and nutritional plan. For this it is important to work with genetics representatives and veterinarians.
A dairy farm is driven by resource requirements, producer’s desires and market forces.