I have a couple of question regarding operations in Dairy farming.
- Farming method – I have read a lot about Zero grazing generally producing more yields than semi or open grazing. Is this a fact? And why so? If not, other than scarcity of land, what other factors are there to consider when one is deciding what kind of farming to go for?
- Sheds/Premises – What kind of investment maybe required in terms of milking sheds other infrastructure for 10 cows? Zero grazing…
- Animal Acquisition & Breeding – Is it better to obtain young calves and feed and inseminate them or does it make more sense to buy cows that are ready for insemination? how much do they generally cost and where would you recommend to buy them?
- Feeds – Other than silage, salt, a bit of grazing and watering, are there other feeding requirements?
- Medicare – How delicate can cows get and how much are medical expenses per cow per month for example?
- Milking – In your experience, is 40-50 litres of milk per cow per day realistic? Considering ten cows, milking machines will be necessary at this capacities i assume….
- Insurance – Do farmers generally take insurance on their cows?
- Licensing – Are there any licenses required depending on the scales of milk production?
Yes, zero grazing will produce more as long as you have the right kind of animals and you are willing to invest a little more on feeds, structures and labour. Zero grazing requires less space, your animals don’t spend too much energy on movement and you can easily monitor each animal and keep proper records.
Besides milking sheds, you will need feeding area, watering area and resting place. Other structures could be a store, calves’ pen etc. All these structures could cost approximately Kshs 250,000. It will depend on your choice of materials and your taste. Note that you can bring down these costs by improvising, using green house polythene instead of iron sheets, a murrum and compacted floor instead of cemented floor and so on.
Through my own experience, I would suggest you buy young calves, feed and inseminate them. This is because most of the farmers will most likely sell their non-performing cows. In most cases these cows are too old, have mastitis problems, some will not conceive while others have poor eyesight or none at all. Most of these cows will cost over Kshs 150,000 and I bet you don’t want to spend these much on bad cow, do you?
I would be willing to look for good dairy cows or calves if given time. Let me know what you think.
Feeds will cost you approximately 50% of the dairy cow’s expenses. Yes, there is a lot in feeding requirements as you will need feeds rich in proteins, energy producing, fibres and fats. You need to know whether you will grow these feeds or you will buy them. Let me know your option.
Different cows will be affected by different diseases depending on your location. Some regions are prone to different diseases and some dairy dairy breeds are more delicate than others. Kindly let me know your region.
However, a dairy cow would require less than Kshs 2,000 per month.
Good question “is 40-50 litres of milk per cow per day realistic?” For a beginner as well an established farmer this is a big challenge but with time it is achievable. Yes at 40 litres per day per cow, you will definitely need a milking machine.
Most farmers will not insure the cows. I guess it is because they don’t take dairy farming as a business. I think you need to talk to your insurance company as they might be of help to you.
There are no licences require for a dairy farm. But if you need to have a kiosk to sell your milk then you are require to acquire a licence from the Dairy Board and a city or municipal licence for your kiosk.
Thats all for now Sylvia. I hope to hear from you soon.