8 Tips to Succeed in Dairy farms Business

8 Tips to succeed in Dairy farms Business

Dairy farms take a lot of money and capital to start up, 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.

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Dairy farms BusinessDairy farms Business Tips

1. Research species and breed.

The most common dairy animals are cows, goats (good for a small farm), or water buffalo (in south Asia).

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 there local demand for the breed’s milk (based on species and milk fat %)? What about for 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?

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2. 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 financial flexibility.

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3. 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).

Male: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.

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4. 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.

8 Tips to succeed in Dairy farms Business

5. Invest 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 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). Note — if possible, give yourself room to expand to a larger herd.

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8 Tips to succeed in Dairy farms Business

6. 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.

8 Tips to succeed in Dairy farms Business

7. 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.

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8 Tips to succeed in Dairy farms Business

8. Contact the government.

Your local or regional government years when estimating future profits.

You don’t want your business to go under if milk prices drop.

As a rule of thumb, you’ll need one laborer per 10 milk animals, and one per 20 “dry” animals.

This includes you and your family

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