Decision making

5 things you need to know before starting your own dairy farm

Whatever your background and experience, there are things you need to know before starting your own dairy business

Photo /images /courtesy
  1. Develop a business plan and SWOT analysis

Just like any other business, dairy business require detailed business plan and SWOT analysis which will enable critical success of your business.

Typical questions like, how many cows will you milk? Where will you market your milk? Will you hire employees? What will be your profit after expenditure? Your business plan should include a cash flow plan that will help you set reasonable expectations for your expenses and cost of production.

2.Consult the experts

It’s important to consult experts in the dairy industry as you develop your business plan and design your management system. Attend field days and open houses on dairy farms in your area and other parts of the state or country. Do research on these farms, ask questions, find out what has worked well and what hasn’t worked well for them but keep in mind, what worked well in your friends farm doesn’t mean it will work well for you.

Also speak to veterinarian, nutritionist, agronomists, extension officers and others that can provide different perspectives on management of your dairy.

3.Create a cropping and feeding programme

Which ever feeding method you are going to use, dairy cattle require a certain set of nutrients to support themselves, produce milk, and grow a calf.

Work with a nutritionist to develop rations for your lactating cows and dry cows and heifers if these animals are to be raised on the farm.

4.Create a waste management plan

Dairy cattle produce a lot of manure. If this manure can be managed and used properly it can be of great resource on the farm. Manure management will be tied closely to your cropping and feeding programme.

5.Build your capital

Dairy farming requires a large capital investment. Land, buildings, equipment and cows are expensive and few new dairy farmers will have the capital required to purchase everything when they get started in business. Many begin by purchasing cows first and renting the farm and land.

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